10/20/2017, 13.20
BANGLADESH – VATICAN
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Dhaka, young Christians anxiously await Pope Francis’s visit

by Sumon Corraya

On 2 December more than ten thousand youth will attend the meeting with the pontiff at Notre Dame College. About 130,000 people will come together for the pastoral visit from all over the country. The coming of the pope "will help us later on".

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Bangladesh’s young Christians are filled with joy and excitement as they look forward to meeting Pope Francis. The pontiff is expected in Dhaka from 30 November to 2 December 2017.

The schedule of the pastoral visit includes a meeting with Bangladeshi you on the last day at Dhaka’s Notre Dame College. For that occasion, some ten thousand young people are expected, including hundreds from other Christian confessions as well as other religions. AsiaNews spoke to a few to hear their expectations.

"Pope Francis is my personal ideal,’ said Sushil Kisku, 23, a Protestant. “This is why I want to attend the event. I am sure that by listening to his precious message, many young people will undergo positive changes."

The young man is the organisational secretary of the Santal Student Union, and is a member of Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship.

"We do not live our lives in the most appropriate way at all times,” he explained. “But I firmly believe that by listening to the pope's message we can change ourselves. We will abandon our weaknesses and the mistakes we commit."

Shourav Palma, a Catholic, believes that "Pope Francis's teachings and guidelines will help us later on." He works in the English Department at Notre Dame University and chairs the Dhaka Christian Chatro Kalyan Shongho, a national student movement.

"Pope Francis is a youth icon,” he said. “Today's world faces many challenges, such as extremism, climate change, globalisation. I think the pontiff will suggest ways to overcome all these obstacles. And young people will sincerely follow his teachings."

According to the Catholic man, the fruits of the pope's visit will also be seen after his visit. "The programme for young Christians,” he noted, “will go even further and the same young people will be more active in the activities promoted by the Church."

William Nokrak, an activist for the Garo tribal group and president of the Bangladesh Catholic Students' Movement, noted that at least 130,000 people will come from across the country to welcome the pope during his pastoral visit.

“We will see Pope Francis right in front of us, and shall listen to his inestimable words,” he said. “All this is a great opportunity. I hope this makes the young stronger from the spiritual and moral point of view."

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