"We've already made about 150,000 hosts,” Sr Mary Julina told AsiaNews. “Our main task is the Eucharistic adoration of 24 hours before the Most Holy Sacrament. But for the occasion, we have dedicated all our work, prayer and sacrifices to the pope's imminent visit."
The nuns live at the St Michael’s Adoration Monastery, in Bhatikashore, about 120 km from the capital, in the diocese of Mymensingh.
The members of the congregation usually do not leave the monastery, but for the papal visit, they will make an exception and "we will go to Dhaka to attend the Mass," Sr Mary said.
The Poor Clares are also sewing the chasuble worn by celebrants, as well as the albs, cinctures, and all that is needed for the priestly ordination ceremony of the 16 deacons who will be consecrated by the pontiff.
“Of the more than 150,000 hosts, we have donated some 50,000 to the organising committee. We have devoted our work to the pope,” said Sr Mary Rose, the superior of the monastery.
Sr Mary Theresita, 78, a former mother superior, believes that "the pope's visit will bring immense blessings and peace to Bangladesh. Young people will be inspired by seeing the pope, as will the female novices. Religious vocations will also grow. At present though, young people do not pray. I'm sure the pope will give new life to Christians in the country. "
Bangladesh is a predominantly Muslim country. Out of a population of 163 million, about 600,000 are Christians, 380,000 of whom are Catholics (just 0.2 per cent).
The Congregation of the Poor Clares of the Holy Sacrament has two convents of monastic life, one in Mymensingh and another in Dinajpur. The Sisters make rosaries, wine for mass, and thank you cards. Some 36 nuns live in the country.
A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.
The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.