THRISSUR, India (CNS) — The Mumbai high court reinstated Good Friday as a holiday after it had been removed from the list of government-approved holidays in an area in western India ruled by the federal government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
“We are very happy to inform you that we have won the Good Friday battle in the Mumbai high court,” Auxiliary Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas of Ranchi, secretary general of the Indian Catholic bishops’ conference, said in a statement after the court’s April 15 ruling.
Bishop Mascarenhas called the ruling “a big relief” for the Christian minority in the region. “The court order reinforces our faith in the judicial system,” he told Catholic News Service.
Federal government leaders in the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu had determined that beginning this year, Good Friday, which falls on April 19, would cease to be a compulsory holiday. The government’s stance meant that public institutions, including schools and colleges, would have remained open on one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar.
The territories were a Portuguese colony for 450 years before becoming part of the Indian union in 1961. Ecclesiastically, the area falls under the Archdiocese of Goa that covers the tiny state of Goa, which was part of the Union Territory until becoming a state in 1987.
“The Christian community and the citizenry at large in these (areas) were pained and anguished by the cancellation of a holiday on Good Friday which is held sacred by them,” the bishops’ conference said in commending the court’s ruling.
Despite the court verdict, a round of parliamentary elections set in 13 states for April 18 — Holy Thursday — will go ahead as planned despite appeals from Christians and the bishops’ conference to the Election Commission of India and federal officials that they be rescheduled.
During the five-year tenure of the outgoing BJP government, several efforts have been made to turn Christmas and Good Friday (public holidays in India) into “working days” in parts of states or departments controlled by the federal government.
In each case, Christian protests and court orders led to the reinstatement of the Christian holidays.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: