Caritas celebrates Christmas in Rajshahi with poor children from shantytowns
One hundred children, mostly Muslims, took part in the revels. At the end of the ceremony a big cake was cut for "Jesus's birthday". For many children, it was the first time they saw a cake. It was "wonderful” to participate.
Rajshahi (AsiaNews) – Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi, president of Caritas Bangladesh, celebrated Christmas with a hundred poor street kids who live in various shantytowns of his diocese.
The event was held last Saturday in the regional office of the Catholic charity. At the end, children cut a big birthday cake. For many of them, who had never seen one before, it was a thrilling experience.
"I have never seen such a big cake,” said one of the children, Ripon Islam. “Today we cut the cake for Jesus Christ's birthday. We sang and had fun. We ate good food. We are very happy". Ripon is Muslim, like most of the children present at the pre-Christmas celebration.
"In Bangladesh each religious festival is universal,” said Suklesh George Costa, regional director of Caritas, speaking to AsiaNews. “So, we invited the poorest children among the poor to share Christmas joy”.
The children, he noted, "are the leaders of the future. We want to build relations between religions through dialogue and celebrations like Christmas. We show our love to everyone and the respect we have for them. We preach the Gospel through our behaviour.”
The children came from the poorest places in the Diocese of Rajshahi. Despite their material poverty, they offered the bishop hand-made flowers, boats and birds.
“Christmas is a Christian holiday, but we can share it with other faiths,” said Mgr Rozario, “Even Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina maintains that religion is personal, but festivities are universal.”
The bishop gave each child a flower. Addressing the little ones, he urged them “to follow moral values and be good human beings. You are the future generation. If you become kind and honest human beings, we will have a good future. "
Bangladesh is a country with an Islamic majority. Most Muslims do not know that Christians celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. For Farjana Akter, a teenage girl, "This is the first time I attend a Christmas party. It was wonderful. I'll never forget it.”