Archbishop Mario Conti has written to the Bahai Council of Scotland with greetings for their new year festival, Naw Ruz, which is celebrated on 21st March each year. The festival comes after three weeks of fasting from food and drink during daylight hours. Here is this year's letter to the Bahai Community:
I am very pleased to send my greetings to the Baha’i Community in Scotland as you celebrate Naw Ruz on 21st March. I hope it is a time of celebration and renewal for you all as you begin another new year.
This year is a special one for the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has designated it a Holy Year of Mercy. He wants the Church to show the merciful face of God to all and encourages Catholic to be merciful to others just as God is merciful to us. In announcing this Holy Year the Pope spoke of the need to foster an encounter with world faiths and prayed that the year might “open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better”. He prayed that this would “eliminate every form of close – mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination” – a laudable new year resolution for us all.
Mercy is at the heart of so many of our faiths. Abdu’l Baha, the son of your founder, has said that “the friends of God must manifest the mercy of the Compassionate Lord in the world of existence and show forth the bounty of the visible and invisible King” This echoes the words of our own Holy Father. It’s important at a time when many people associate religion with violence that our faiths bear common witness to the gentleness of God’s mercy. Perhaps this year we can resolve to make mercy a reality in our relations with one another and with all who share our common home.
Finally on my own behalf and on behalf of the Bishops of Scotland as well as our Committee for Interreligious Dialogue 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