Card. D'Rozario: The Pope's visit to Dhaka, a confirmation of inter-religious harmony (Video)
Pope Francis will travel to Bangladesh from 30 November to 2 December. The themes chosen for the trip are harmony and peace. Parishes receive directions to prepare the faithful. PIME Superior: "Christians are the hope of the country, our work is for the benefit of all."
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Bangladesh, which will take place from November 30 to December 2, 2017, in Dhaka "is a confirmation of the interreligious harmony that has distinguished the relations between our people for centuries, " Card. Patrick D'Rozario, archbishop of Dhaka, tells AsiaNews.
The prelate was commenting on the news of the pastoral journey of the pontiff, confirmed this morning by the Vatican Press Office. Speaking over the phone in the margins of the press conference organized by the archdiocese, attended by about 80 journalists, he affirms with joy: "The population is already ready. We've been waiting for the news for a longtime. Pope Francis will be welcomed by all, not only by Christians, but also by Muslims and Hindus. This is because Bangladesh has enormous cultural wealth and our presence [as Catholics] is accepted by everyone. "
Harmony and peace are the themes chosen for the Pope's journey (see photos with the official logo). Already in the past, the cardinal emphasized to AsiaNews the importance of the Bangladeshi traditions, marked by the "deep humility of the population" a country where “various cultures and religious communities have always lived in harmony." That is why, says Card. D'Rozario Catholics now "rejoice in the news of Pope Francis's visit and are already planning everything." "The visit - he adds - will serve to celebrate this harmony, which is the richness of our cultural heritage in a country where everyone has always respected different religious denominations."
In Bangladesh, a majority-Islamic country, Catholics are almost 380,000 (out of a total population of over 160 million). There is one archdiocese, a metropolitan diocese and six dioceses. There are 34 religious congregations in the country, 380 priests, 115 religious and 1100 nuns.
According to Fr. Michele Brambilla, PIME regional superior of (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Affairs) in Bangladesh, "the visit is even more meaningful because the Pope speaks so much about peripheries, and Bangladesh is one of these. There have been several unpleasant episodes in recent years, not only for the Christian community, but also against Hindus and Muslims. " The priest confirms that Dhaka archdiocese "is already developing the visit program," and adds that "all parishes have received indications that also contain the maximum number of faithful who can leave for the capital."
"The event - continues Fr. Brambilla - will be seen as an opportunity to welcome a man who brings peace. The visit is the confirmation of the light of Christ that people have received and which, in their own way, witnesses every day. " "We are a minority," he concludes, "but we are not isolated. We live in the midst of people and the social works we do are for the benefit of all. We are the hope for the people. "
The pontiff is expected from 30 November to 2 December. This will be the first visit after John Paul II's visit in 1986. It is a state visit as well as a pastoral visit for Christians and Muslims that will stimulate dialogue between religious communities. An interview with the archbishop of Dhaka follows.
The Holy See's press office publishes the detailed itinerary of the papal journey. The various meetings with political personalities, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, and those with Catholic communities and representatives of religions. Laity and coexistence between religions. The Churches of Bangladesh and Myanmar "peripheries" and "insignificant", poor and evangelizing, reflections of Pope Francis's dream. Suggestions for India and China.
The archbishop of Dhaka went to Tumbro and Ghumdhum. He listened to the stories of violence and misery. The cardinal appealed to world leaders. The Catholic Church has collected a million taka (10,200 euros) for the emergency.
Joy, expectations and fears of the small and young community of the country. Bishops: "Like the Good Shepherd, the Holy Father wants to meet his flock, privileging the insignificant Churches." In the country there are 16 dioceses, 23 bishops and one cardinal elected in 2015. There are 700,000 Christians, only 1.37% of the population. Archbishop Pyone Cho of Pyayn: "Your visit will affect the promotion of concord." Sister Dennis Ja Tawng: "Myanmar suffers ethnic conflicts, but the Pope will redeem this land."
Controversy in the country following Angelus appeal for Rohingya. The Burmese majority is opposed to the recognition of their rights. Catholics have welcomed the Pope's words with astonishment and fear for his safety. The humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State is a very sensitive subject for society. The Church invites impartiality and underlines the contribution of the Pope's visit to the process of national pacification.
Ethnic Kachin, Chin and Naga endure suffering. Religious discrimination is in some cases even institutionalised. Christians are seen as the expression of a foreign religion, outside of the nationalist view. For years the military regime has applied stringent discriminatory measures.
October is a month devoted to awakening the call to mission among Christians. In the world there is indifference or enmity towards God and the Church. Religions are considered the source of all wars. Christianity is the encounter with a Person who changes the life of the believer and places him at the service of the wounds of the world, torn by frustrations and fratricidal wars. The example of the Patriarch of Baghdad and of the President of South Korea.