In Nepal "many leaders have imposed the Communist doctrine, which has alienated the people from God. But this deviation has brought neither the establishment of Communism nor the grace of God. As Pope Francis put it, it is time to convert to faith,” said Dipen Poudel, a student leader with the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), in response to the pontiff’s Lent message.
Like many other young Nepalese, he was able to read the recently
Several youth leaders, both Catholic and from other
religions, expressed to AsiaNews great enthusiasm for the pope's remarks, which call for a spiritual renewal and a real journey of conversion.
“Lent is a favourable season for deepening our spiritual life through
the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer
and almsgiving,” Francis wrote.
Truly, it “is the favourable season for
renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the
sacraments and in our neighbour.”
Citing the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the Holy Father also
noted that “Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance,
respect and love. The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome
and love life.”
However, "Greater spiritual detachment and a growing gap between rich
and poor explain why many young people are frustrated and involved in
criminal activity," said Kishor Shrestha, president of the International
Movement of Catholic Students.
"Young people should be responsible to the nation and its people amid
political instability, poverty, unemployment, and the gap between rich
Since the movement "started to discuss how to empower young people,
some non-Catholics said that that the Pope's message about Lent is
applicable to Nepal’s context."
In fact, the pope’s “message is really enlightening and we should put
it into practice,” said Dipen Poudel. “Spiritual detachment is one of
the causes of many problems among young people and adults."
Urmila Basyal, a student affiliated with the Nepali Congress,
believes that "thousands of young people are misguided in the name of
communism. When we visit churches and read the Gospel, we discover that
God’s grace is a necessity [to build] a better society.”
"Along with some friends,” she added, “I visit Catholic churches, knowing the meaning of God’s word in people’s lives.”
For her, “The Pope's message is true.” Hence, “My friends and I would like to welcome God’s grace through conversion."
Indeed, "Peace and a better life begin when we recognise God’s importance and uphold his commandments."