Hindus have sent good wishes to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the 26th “World Youth Day” (WYD) being held at Madrid (Spain) from August 16-21.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, wished Pope success in infusing some spirituality into today’s youth through WYD.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that life was getting complex and distractions were increasing, so religion was slipping away from the priority list of many. Conventional style of dealing with spirituality and religion did not appear to be effectively working, especially with today’s youth. Make religion more vibrant, attractive and engaging if you wanted to keep your people in God’s fold, Zed suggested to organizations and leaders of various world religions and denominations.
If religious leaders and organizations do not attend to this challenge more effectively in this consumerist society, we can lose our youth to the other marketplace players, which sometimes can be more powerful, attractive and vocal than religion and spirituality. Many youth appear to be bored from religion. Serving God does not have to be dull. For youth, make religion “cool” and do not force anything on them, Rajan Zed argues.
Zed stresses that youth is not hostile to religion. Religious leaders and organizations need rethinking and reflection and come up with creative and new practices, norms, and ideas to make their product more competitive. A spiritual world will be a better place to live than a non-spiritual world, Zed adds.
In his WYD message from Vatican, Pope said:…God is the source of life…In some parts of the world, particularly in the West, today’s culture tends to exclude God, and to consider faith a purely private issue with no relevance for the life of society…we see a certain “eclipse of God” taking place, a kind of amnesia…There is a growing mentality of relativism, which holds that everything is equally valid, that truth and absolute points of reference do not exist…Only the word of God can show us the authentic way…experience tells us that a world without God becomes a “hell”: filled with selfishness, broken families, hatred between individuals and nations, and a great deficit of love, joy and hope.
About one million people are expected to attend this WYD, called “great worldwide encounter with the Pope” and claimed to be open to all including non-Catholics, whose objective is listed as: spiritual growth, personal encounter with God, commitment to truth and justice, and progress in charity. Organized by Catholic Church since 1985, youth from 193 countries will reportedly participate in this WYD, with largest delegations from Italy, Spain, France, and USA respectively. About 4000 media persons have been accredited for it, whose main events include Vigil on Saturday night and the Holy Mass on Sunday morning with Pope presiding, besides Catechesis and a Via Crucis. Such event in Manila in 1985 claimed to have drawn a crowd of five million.