06/17/2016, 13.29
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Fifteen unmarried couples tied the knot in church in Dhaka (Video)

by Sumon Corraya

Living unmarried carries a social stigma in Bangladesh. After a two-year marriage course provided by the Missionaries of Charity, 30 young people married. “We want all those who lead an illicit family life to meet the Church,” priest said.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – After a two-year course, 15 Bangladeshi couples living together for several years have been able to obtain the sacrament of marriage.

The celebration took place yesterday in Holy Cross Parish in Luxmibazar, south of Dhaka. Mgr Lawrence Subroto Hawlader, bishop of Barisal, led the Mass and blessed the couples, reminding them of their duty to live as Christians and educate their children to love Christ.

For several years, most of the couples lived "illicitly". Although they had registered their union at a local court, this was not recognised by the Church. In Bangladesh unmarried couples are frown upon, seen as sinners.

The Missionaries of Charity ran the marriage course for 30 would-be spouses, accompanying them step by step on their path towards marriage.

One of the nuns, Sister Christina, said many of the people involved work in the garment and other industries, and could not attend the sacraments because of their long working hours.

Fr James Shyamal, pastor in Luxmibazar, explained the decision to celebrate the mass wedding. "We want all those who lead an illicit family life to meet the Church, where they are welcomed," he said.

John Munro, one of the newlyweds, was happy for the step he took. "We had not made our vows as husband and wife in church,” he noted. “I think we did not have God’s blessing. However, now we received it and this makes us a happy family".

Here is some video footage of the celebration:

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