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Kerala church officials designate December as Bible-reading month

Thiruvananthapuram: 

Church officials in southern India's Kerala state plan to designate December as Bible-reading-month, taking their cue from a local tradition of Hindus who set aside a month for reading their holy book, the Ramayana.


The Bible Commission of the regional bishops' council has already asked all 39 dioceses in its jurisdiction to observe December as Bible-reading month, said the deputy secretary of the council Father Varghese Vallikkattu.


A statement from the bishops read out at all parishes Nov. 15 requested Catholics to begin Bible reading from Nov. 29 to Christmas.


Father Vallikkattu said the plan to dedicate a month follows the example of local Hindus who set aside the last month of their local calendar, Karkidakam (July-August), as the month of Ramayana, when temples read out the scripture each day of the month from morning until evening without break.


The bishops have suggested that Indian Catholic parishes begin a similar tradition, the priest told ucanews.com.


"The idea of Bible month may help people revive the habit of reading the Bible instead of having family members glued to televisions in the evening," lay Catholic Antony Joseph told ucanews.com. "It’s a welcome sign that the church is promoting Bible reading."


Sanskrit scholar and civil servant K. S. Radhakrishnan, a Hindu, also welcomed the idea of a Bible month.


"Today, we have to be spiritual as our world is surrounded by darkness. The Bible, or any spiritual text, helps people to meet their challenges in their hard lives," Radhakrishnan said.