Dhaka Catholics mark Lent with prayer, sacrifice, solidarity
Christians prepare for Easter in a Muslim-majority country. “From my sincere service people recognise that I am Christian,” says one Christian. Lent offerings fund new church construction for new Christians in remote areas.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - In Bangladesh Catholics live Lent with great solemnity, prayers, sacrifices and good deeds.
“As a disciple of Christ, I try deeply to realise the meaning of Lent. In this period every week I attend the Way of the Cross and Sunday Mass, practising fasting and sacrifices”, said Margarate Gomes, a Catholic nurse who works in a public hospital.
In this Muslim-majority country, Christians make up only 0.4 pe cent of the population.
Gomes says that she comes from a devoted Catholic family and learnt from her parents the importance of Lent; for this reason, she lives this time of purification with great intensity.
“In childhood, I saw my parents fasting, praying and helping those in need. Now I do it too and from this I draw spiritual strength,” Gomes explained.
As a nurse Margarate has the opportunity to bear witness to her faith through love and care. “I do my best at my work with smiles, helping patients become stronger,” she noted. “From my sincere service people recognise that I am Christian”.
Aknon Rozario also shares his story about Lent. “I like the sermons of priests and I want to follow their teachings,” said the young man who works as an electrician in a factory.
“Once I was too busy playing with my mobile phone instead of praying or talking to my parents and siblings,” said the 22-year-old, “but now I pray and dedicate time to my relatives. I was encouraged to do so listening to sermons in church during Lent.”
Paul Palma is a retiree. He gave up drinking during Lent. “I earned a lot in my life,” he explained. “I had a good time. Now I feel that I should do something for others.”
“ instead of having fun, I like to give. I Give money to needy people who need treatment. I get pleasure from giving to others and Lent helps me do so,” he added.
In this period, with fasting, giving up one meal, thousands of Catholics donate offerings to the Church, which are used to build new churches for new worshippers in remote areas. Every year hundreds of people become Christian.