On Tuesday, the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, heads of the two major Christian orders of the city — Roman Catholic and Church of North India — will send out messages on the spiritual guidance of Vivekananda, who “transcended the borders of religion to lead everyone to attain oneness through their commitment to serve mankind”. Vivekananda’s birth anniversary is also celebrated as Youth Day throughout the country.
“In difficult times like these we need spiritual guidance to help us move forward and when we surrender completely to that guidance, miracles happen. One such guide who we can turn to in our daily lives is Swami Vivekananda,” the message will say.
The member churches of these two orders will also have parish priests reminding everyone that Swamiji’s vision of a strong country should be the only path forward.
Archbishop Thomas D Souza, head of the Roman Catholic Church in the city, is in retreat, but took time off to send a prayer message for the occasion. “He treated humanity like his brothers and sisters and the Chicago lecture remains a landmark to this day. Unity in diversity is the essence of Indian culture and Swamiji led us on this path. I urge the youth of the country to once again, arise and awake to the clarion call of Swamiji,” he said.
Vicar general of the archdiocese of Kolkata, Dominic Gomes’s message will be available on YouTube. “Swami Vivekananda believed that youth are the strongest innovators and can drive social change through muscles of iron and nerves of steel. You can imagine the deep realization of this ascetic when you go through his saying, ‘you will be nearer to heaven through football than through the study of Gita’,” Gomes said.
Urging the youth of the country to read more of Vivekananda’s writings and to emulate what he practised, Bishop Paritosh Canning drew attention to Vivekananda’s concept of “Advaita”.
“The last word in religion and thought is ‘Advaita’, and so, in this country, we are able to accept people of all religions and communities,” he said.