Less than 200 Catholic marriages have been celebrated in 2020, down from an annual average of 1,700 before COVID-19. Only 50 people can attend the wedding ceremony. For young couples this has a positive aspect as they save money and do not go into debt to get married.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) – The number of Catholic marriages in Bangladesh has dropped considerably as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a source in the local Church, approximately 1,700 unions are celebrated on average each year in Bangladesh, but so far in 2020, there have been fewer than 200.
The Catholic Church, following government regulations, banned large public gatherings as a security measure against COVID-19. Some 255,000 cases have been reported in the country so far, with almost 3,400 deaths.
Card Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka, ordered that a maximum of 50 people be allowed to take part in a wedding.
Ranjit Gomes, a Catholic man, had to respect such a restriction for his son's recent wedding. Some 400 people had been originally invited for the ceremony, he told AsiaNews.
Fr Albert Thomas Rozario, parish priest in Dharenda (Dhaka), said he celebrated only seven weddings this year. "Many young people are waiting for the end of the pandemic before getting married,” he explained.
For the clergyman, the coronavirus had one positive effect. Restrictions on the number of people attending the wedding party have allowed the bride and groom to reduce expenses.
Before the pandemic, at least 250 people could be invited, plus musicians and DJs hired for the celebrations. As a result, many people go into heavy debt. Now young newlyweds can save money.
Augustine D’Creuze, a Catholic man, believes that the practice of small marriages should be maintained even when the crisis is over. "I have three children, and for their marriage I intend to organise only limited ceremonies.”