03/07/2019, 16.37
BANGLADESH
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Some 15,000 worshippers attend Mass on Ash Wednesday in Tejgaon (video)

by Sumon Corraya

Card Patrick D'Rozario calls on the faithful to transform their life for Christ through fasting and prayer, replacing selfishness “with love, sharing and caring for others."

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Yesterday Bangladesh’s churches were filled with worshippers celebrating Ash Wednesday. In Dhaka’s Tejgaon parish, the capital’s largest, at least 15,000 Catholics took part in the day’s five Masses. Card Patrick D'Rozario, the local archbishop, led the last one, at 6 pm.

Holy Rosary parish is located in Tejgaon, a predominantly Catholic district. Its compound houses the largest Catholic cemetery in Bangladesh. The Sisters of Mother Teresa also have house inside.

Fr Kamal Corraya, the parish priest, spoke to AsiaNews. "I am really happy,” he said, “because all the services were packed, and the faithful followed the Mass outside the church. This is a good sign for the country."

For thousands of Catholics, the church is the sacred place of reference, especially for migrant workers from rural villages and young people studying in the schools of the big city.

The cardinal spoke to them yesterday, saying "Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for the glory of the resurrection. For 40 days he fasted and prayed in the desert, to prepare himself [for the meeting] with God. Lent must also be a time of transformation for us."

"We must have the desire to transform our mind,” he added. “Pray, fast, forgive, love, be kind and do good works. All of this can help us transform ourselves.”

For Card D'Rozario, fasting "does not mean just giving up food, but also bad habits." For this reason, in his message for Lent, in Bengali and distributed to young people, he underlined: "Our life is [immersed] in sin. With fasting and prayer, we can reform it, we can have a new life and receive God's blessing."

As part of this, he urged young people to refrain from using Facebook and other social media during Lent. "Change your life for Christ", his message says.

In his homily, the archbishop also warned against the risks of materialism that "forgets the necessity of the presence of God" and of self-centredness that "makes us too busy worshipping ourselves. Replace it with love, sharing and caring for others."

At the end of the celebration, Fr Corraya handed out 4,000 boxes to those present to put the money saved from Friday fasting to go for the needs of the church. Because there were not enough, he will hand out more next Sunday.

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