Government focusing on clergy preparation 'to promote religious harmony'
by Sumon Corraya

The Christian Religious Welfare Trust organised a workshop held on 19 March. The authorities are training Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders. ""The pastor must always lead the people to a better understanding of the word of God,” a participant said.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Bangladeshi authorities have sponsored a seminar to prepare priests and pastors, with the aim of "promoting religious harmony".

The Christian Religious Welfare Trust (CRWT), a government-run body, organised the workshop, which was held on 19 March at the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB) in Dhaka.

"The aim [of the workshop] was to encourage harmony between different faiths, to show different ways of living for the good of the country and the entire population, and to reduce [confessional] murders,” said CRWT secretary Nirmol Rozario.

“The government wants to prepare Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim religious so that everyone can practise their faith and respect that of others,” added Mr Rozario, a Catholic who is also president of the Bangladesh Christian Association.

"Religious leaders,” he explained, “are very influential in society and can be advocates of change. Thanks to their leadership, religious harmony can be encouraged."

Fifty-three Christians religious leaders, mostly Protestant clergymen, attended the seminar.

According to Mgr Bejoy D'Cruze, "today all over the world people are suffering from intolerance. This is why it is really important to build religious harmony.”

In his view, "It is essential to create bonds of friendship and dialogue with people of other faiths. Respecting the belief of others, listening and sharing can help to cement harmony."

Rev Ashim Baroi shared his ideas on how priests and pastors can do their best to take care of believers. "We,” he said, “are spiritual leaders and it is our responsibility to take care of the faithful.”

"The pastor must always lead the people to a better understanding of the word of God. The faithful seek out enlightened and ideal people. Pastors and priests must be the ones who lead them to Jesus Christ."

Rev Solomon Kisku, a pastor with the Church of Bangladesh in Dhaka, appreciates the government's initiative.

"The seminar was very fruitful,” he told AsiaNews. “We learnt about interreligious dialogue, which will help us build healthy relationships with people of other faiths.”

What is more, "This workshop reminded us of the important role we play in society. From now on, we will have to be more earnest in preaching the message of God ".