Each year the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sends a message to the Buddhist community on the occasion of Vesak – the feast that celebrates Gautama Buddha’s birth, and key events in his life and story. This year Vesak is celebrated on Wednesday 26 May throughout the world. The Catholic Church in Melbourne has also extended its good wishes to our Buddhist brothers and sisters in a special greeting sent from the Episcopal Vicar for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, Fr Denis Stanley.

A Peaceful and Joyful Vesak

On behalf of the Most Reverend Peter A Comensoli, the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, I would like to extend warmest greetings on the occasion of Vesak which, this year on 26 May, celebrates Gautama Buddha’s birth, and key events in his life and story.

We are told that it was in response to universal suffering that the Buddha, in compassion, revealed Four Noble Truths so that all might achieve liberation. The Catholic Community, in this season of Easter, celebrates the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose rising from the dead has brought freedom from sin and death. I rejoice in knowing that Buddhists and Christians share much in common.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought suffering to countless millions. It has also made us aware of our shared vulnerability and interdependence. Furthermore, it has led people to seek abiding values. It has even led to a deeper appreciation of meditation and the riches that can be discovered from within.

For this reason, we look forward to the many ways in which the Buddhist and Catholic communities of Melbourne can engage in a culture of dialogue, in sharing boundless love and tranquility to a troubled world, and in serving all who are distressed.

May this season bring joy and abiding peace to all our communities.

Yours sincerely,

Very Reverend Denis Stanley,
Episcopal Vicar for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne