"Vedantic Roman Catholic Priests" Host Interfaith Christmas Service

December 14, 2003

Source: The Times of India


On December 14, 2003 The Times of India reported, "Perhaps for the first time, Christmas will be celebrated inside a temple and that too with bhajans, kirtans and sufi songs. It may not be Yuletide spirit exactly, but the message of peace and joy will come alive at Maatrimandir, near Deshapriya Park in south Kolkata on Sunday. This unique effort is being made by St. Xavier's fathers. The Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue, of the Society of Jesus, (Jesuits) was founded by a group of St. Xavier's fathers soon after the Babri Masjid incident, to propagate communal harmony and to bring about better understanding of religion. The priests have resurrected the Ashram Movement - modelled on 18th century Hindu tradition to spread their message. This group of priests call themselves Vedantic Roman Catholic Priests and even wear saffron instead of the cassock...'We will have religious leaders of different religions sing the name of God on Sunday and invoke the spirit of Christmas. There is one God whom we call by different names and worship in different forms. So this effort to unite everybody on the occasion of Christmas,' Father Srijon, [convenor of the commission, said]."