This week the Baha’i community is celebrating their festival of Naw Ruz (New Year) on March 21st and Archbishop Conti has sent out a letter to the Baha’i community of Scotland expressing good wishes and greetings for their celebration. Here is Archbishop Conti’s letter below:
I am delighted to send you greetings on my own behalf and on behalf of the Bishops of Scotland for the festival of Naw Ruz, a moment of new beginnings for you and your community.
This year your annual fast, in preparation for Naw Ruz, began on the same day that Christians began the season of Lent which prepares us for the feast of Easter. For Catholics lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a day on which Catholics and some other Christians, receive ashes with the words ‘ Remember that you are dust and into dust you shall return’. This is a message which seems very pertinent and important today with so much emphasis on consumerism, materialism, individualism and selfishness. It is so easy to believe that we are in control and can manage our lives and affairs to our own satisfaction. But periods of fasting remind us that we are nothing apart from God, that of ourselves we are but dust, raised to a great height because we are made in the image and likeness of God our Creator. As people of faith we believe that God should be the centre of our lives, that we have a particular duty and responsibility to show the world another way – the way of generosity, love and service. Today religions have an important message which the world needs to hear. My prayer is that the feast which each of our communities celebrates at this time will be a moment of renewal and recommitment to the core values of our faiths and that we continue to witness to these together in this land which we call home.
Once again I wish you and the whole Baha’i community in Scotland a joyful feast of Naw Ruz and every blessing in this coming year.
With all good wishes,
+ Mario Conti
Emeritus Archbishop of Glasgow
Chair of the Committee for Inter Religious Dialogue