Tuesday July 23, 2019

Santa Clarita in California to get its First Hindu Temple due to growing Population of Indians and Hindus in the Valley

The City of Santa Clarita is the third largest city in Los Angeles County, California and the seventeenth largest in the state of California.

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Santa Clarita, Wikimedia

Delhi, Dec 23, 2016: Santa Clarita residents are raising funds to construct the first ever Hindu temple in the Santa Clarita Valley. The temple will be called ‘Siddhivinayaka Temple’ and will have Lord Ganesh as the main deity.

Reason behind the idea of a temple in Santa Clarita Valley:

Ritu Khadiya, a volunteer with the Hindu Temple says that to make a visit to a temple, the residents of Santa Clarita have to travel really far. She said,” Santa Clarita is one valley that doesn’t have anything to do with a Hindu temple — for a temple, (SCV residents seeking a Hindu temple) have to go all the way up to the (San Fernando) Valley, North and Palmdale, mentioned hometownstation.com.

We have been thinking about it for past 2-3 years to have something for our community out right here.” Khadiya also gave a statement saying,”Kids need to learn about our culture too, we are very bound to our culture and we are strong about it also. We wanted to start something out here so that they get a little bit taste of all festivals, all cultural programs in Hindu society.”

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Choosing Lord Ganesha as the main deity:

Khadiya also gave reasons behind choosing Lord Ganesha to be the main deity of the temple. She said, “Ganesha is lord of good luck, and we pray him when we start something new and so that’s what was the whole idea behind it.” The group of volunteers who are actively behind the concept of this Hindu temple actually thought about it during the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi in September this year. “We were sitting together at Ganesha festival, and everyone came up with same name — ‘Let’s start with Siddhivinayak temple,” she said, referring to the famous Mumbai place of worship.

Contribution and Funding:

A total amount of $51,000 is needed for the temple and the community has already raised about 10 percent of that target in just a few short months. Khadiya also said, ”We are very open to collect money for one time right now, because we have a saying in our culture — if you open a temple, the temple runs by itself so we really are looking forward to collect funds and open the temple by the end of January 2017. We have a GOFUNDME me through Facebook, the biggest thing we have right now is you can go into on our website, and you can just click on fund me out there, it’s very safe and goes directly to the funds account and it is tax-deductible, too.”

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People of Santa Clarita valley can also contribute by volunteering for various services like helping the priest, volunteering for festivities etc. Ritu further mentioned that there are many volunteers from Santa Clarita who are working very hard towards an early opening of the temple.

– prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks

 

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“Visit Strengthens Further Internal Cohesion and Unity”: Pope Francis Meets Leaders of North Macedonia

Ahead of his visit, Francis praised the mix of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in North Macedonia, and said he was traveling there to "sow these seeds" of solidarity.

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Pope Francis
Pope Francis greets the crowds in Skopje on May 7. RFERL

Pope Francis, who is on a historic first trip to North Macedonia, has met with the country’s leadership and held Mass in the main square of the capital, Skopje.

Francis was welcomed by the outgoing president, Gjorge Ivanov, and other government officials.

He has sought to encourage the country’s drive toward integration into the EU and NATO after its name change resolved a decades-long dispute with Greece last year.

Like neighboring Bulgaria — Francis’s first stop on his three-day Balkan tour — North Macedonia, a small Balkan country of 2.1 million, is mainly Orthodox Christian.

But the country has a large community of ethnic Albanian Muslims, who make about one-quarter of the population. North Macedonia is home to an estimated 15,000 Catholics.

In meetings with Ivanov and with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the presidential palace, Francis praised North Macedonia’s multiethnic and multifaith culture, calling it an example of peaceful coexistence and a bridge between East and West.

“These particular features are also highly significant for increased integration with the nations of Europe,” he said.

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Like neighboring Bulgaria — Francis’s first stop on his three-day Balkan tour — North Macedonia, a small Balkan country of 2.1 million, is mainly Orthodox Christian. VOA

“It is my hope that this integration will develop in a way that is beneficial for the entire region of the Western Balkans, with unfailing respect for diversity and for fundamental rights.”

In his speech, President Ivanov complained about delays in accepting Macedonia in the Euro-Atlantic family.

“You come at a time when [North] Macedonian society is deeply divided, and the [North] Macedonian [nation] is heavily wounded by broken promises, unfulfilled expectations and faltering trust in the international community,” he said.

Viktor Dimovski, state secretary of North Macedonia’s Foreign Ministry, told the media on May 6 that the pope’s historic visit comes at a crucial moment as the country seeks entry into the European Union and NATO.

“The pope’s visit strengthens further internal cohesion and unity, and brings messages of reconciliation and solidarity,” he said.

The pope’s visit also included a prayer at the memorial of North Macedonia’s most famous native daughter, Mother Teresa, who was born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in 1910 in Skopje when it was still part of the Ottoman Empire.

Francis was surrounded by Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity nuns in praying before the memorial. Mother Teresa was canonized by Francis in 2016.

Ahead of his visit, Francis praised the mix of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in North Macedonia, and said he was traveling there to “sow these seeds” of solidarity.

“Living together is not always easy, we know that,” the pope said in a video message. “But it’s worth struggling toward, because the most beautiful mosaics are the ones that are richest in colors.”

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But the country has a large community of ethnic Albanian Muslims, who make about one-quarter of the population. Pixabay

With the name dispute with Greece now resolved, North Macedonia, which has been an EU aspirant since 2005, hopes to get a clear signal for the start of accession talks in June. Skopje also expects to become the 30th NATO member at the end of the year.

Also Read: Puppeteers Bring Message of Harmony, Love, Tolerance in Pakistan’s Karachi

Stevo Pendarovski, who was elected president in a runoff election on May 5, said he saw his victory as a “ticket for NATO and EU.”

Six Western Balkan countries — Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia — are in various stages of the accession process to join the EU. (RFERL)