Justice and peace: Sharing the joy of Christmas with rich and poor
by Sumon Corraya

Bishop Gervas Rozario calls on the faithful to prepare themselves in spirit and body to welcome the coming of Christ. Advent is a “time of waiting and confession". He urges Catholics in tribal communities to celebrate with neighbours in accordance with their own culture.

Rajshahi (AsiaNews) – Advent, the period before Christmas, "is a time of waiting for Jesus Christ and a time of confession,” said Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi, vice president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh and chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace (ECJP).

In his message, released a few days ago, the prelate tells Catholics that "Jesus will come for us. At that moment Christ will ask us to change from a life of sin and prepare our soul.”

For the prelate, “To redeem ourselves from a sinful life, we must purify ourselves in how we behave, in prayer and lifestyle. Advent is a time of waiting and we must be prepared for the coming of Christ.”

In fact, “If our life is not pure, but goes through ups and downs, we must make it right, so Jesus will be able to enter our life, family and society more easily.”

Urging the faithful to prepare spirit and body as well as decorate their homes, Mgr Rozario goes on to say that, with Christmas, "the Christian community as a whole will be united as one Church.”

Bangladeshi Christians are a small minority, about 600,000, with almost 380,000 Catholics, or 0.2 per cent of the population, in a country where Muslims are more than 90 per cent.

The Diocese of Rajshahi covers an area that is home to different tribal groups, each with its own distinct culture and traditions.

The Bishop ends his message by “wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Celebrate Christmas with your neighbours in accordance with your culture. Share the joy of Christmas with rich and poor, so that it is really fully fruitful.”