Tejgaon parish celebrated five masses on Ash Wednesday with some 16,000 people attending. Some 7,000 boxes with offerings were collected for the poor. Parishioners pledge to save money on meat, fish and rickshaw travel on Lenten Fridays.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) – For some faithful who attended Mass yesterday, Ash Wednesday, in Tejgaon parish, Lent in Bangladesh is truly "a time of spiritual transformation”.
Across the capital, Catholics are getting ready for the Resurrection of Christ with prayers, fasting and offerings for the poor.
Yesterday the Holy Rosary church celebrated five masses to meet to the great demand. In all, some 16,000 people attended the liturgy and each service was packed.
“Usually I don't go to mass on Sunday, but I never missed the Ash Wednesday celebration,” said Sobita Gomas.
“From the sermon I learnt that if I make sacrifices for Christ, my faith will become purer. I understood that Lent can help me become a good Catholic by practicing fasting, prayer and sacrifice.”
“We have entered the period of Lent,” said another parishioner, Thomas Rozario, “which transforms me from a spiritual point of view. Prayer and fasting make me a more moderate and obedient person to God. For me, this time is really very important.”
The parish priest, Fr Subrato B Gomes, told his congregation that “Lent is a time of prayer and fasting. We shall participate in the Way of the Cross and experience the sufferings that Christ endured on the cross and Calvary.”
The clergyman called on the faithful to convert from a sinful life. "If you live in sin, Lent cannot be a blessing for you,” he warned. Instead, he urged believers to “Change your minds and become new human beings.”
During the masses, 7,000 paper boxes with the image of Christ’s crucifixion were handed out so that the faithful can make offerings for the poorest and neediest, with the money not spent on food on Lenten Fridays.
Last year, "we delivered 5,000 boxes; this year we increased the number. We will use the money raised for the needs of the Church, preaching the Christian message.”
Sobita is overjoyed by the initiative. “I won't eat fish and meat and I won't use the rickshaw if I can walk,” she said. “I will put the money saved in the box."