Some 1,500 people from various religions attended a May 26 prayer meeting in Mangalore diocese for the victims of a recent plane crash.
On May 22, an Air India Express flight from Dubai to Mangalore, southern India, crashed on landing, killing 158 of the 166 people on board. The victims included Christians, Hindus and Muslims.
The Church condolence program included a requiem Mass led by Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of Mangalore and an interreligious prayer meet.
The tragedy should not make people depressed or question God’s goodness, said Bishop D’Souza in his homily. Instead, he urged the gathering to find hope in Christ who overcame death.
The tragedy motivated people to help, console and pray for the victims, forgetting their religious differences, Shanhram Shetty, a local Hindu leader, told the interreligious meeting.
“We have shown our unique human concerns after the event without being labeled or differentiated [according to] religion, caste or creed,” Shetty added.
Muslim leader Mohammed Kunhi said that only faith in God could comfort the victims’ families.
The “unforgettable tragedy,” he told participants, has shown that death has no religion or caste. It has “awakened the human consciousness in us” and “called us to improve our lives” by fostering better relations with one other.
Later, Bishop D’Souza and Shetty joined Modihim Bava, a Muslim religious leader, in placing a floral wreath on a symbolic grave erected on a dais for the victims.