Pope Francis will travel to Bangladesh from 30 November to 2 December. The themes chosen for the trip are harmony and peace. Parishes receive directions to prepare the faithful. PIME Superior: "Christians are the hope of the country, our work is for the benefit of all."
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Bangladesh, which will take place from November 30 to December 2, 2017, in Dhaka "is a confirmation of the interreligious harmony that has distinguished the relations between our people for centuries, " Card. Patrick D'Rozario, archbishop of Dhaka, tells AsiaNews.
The prelate was commenting on the news of the pastoral journey of the pontiff, confirmed this morning by the Vatican Press Office. Speaking over the phone in the margins of the press conference organized by the archdiocese, attended by about 80 journalists, he affirms with joy: "The population is already ready. We've been waiting for the news for a longtime. Pope Francis will be welcomed by all, not only by Christians, but also by Muslims and Hindus. This is because Bangladesh has enormous cultural wealth and our presence [as Catholics] is accepted by everyone. "
Harmony and peace are the themes chosen for the Pope's journey (see photos with the official logo). Already in the past, the cardinal emphasized to AsiaNews the importance of the Bangladeshi traditions, marked by the "deep humility of the population" a country where “various cultures and religious communities have always lived in harmony." That is why, says Card. D'Rozario Catholics now "rejoice in the news of Pope Francis's visit and are already planning everything." "The visit - he adds - will serve to celebrate this harmony, which is the richness of our cultural heritage in a country where everyone has always respected different religious denominations."
In Bangladesh, a majority-Islamic country, Catholics are almost 380,000 (out of a total population of over 160 million). There is one archdiocese, a metropolitan diocese and six dioceses. There are 34 religious congregations in the country, 380 priests, 115 religious and 1100 nuns.
According to Fr. Michele Brambilla, PIME regional superior of (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Affairs) in Bangladesh, "the visit is even more meaningful because the Pope speaks so much about peripheries, and Bangladesh is one of these. There have been several unpleasant episodes in recent years, not only for the Christian community, but also against Hindus and Muslims. " The priest confirms that Dhaka archdiocese "is already developing the visit program," and adds that "all parishes have received indications that also contain the maximum number of faithful who can leave for the capital."
"The event - continues Fr. Brambilla - will be seen as an opportunity to welcome a man who brings peace. The visit is the confirmation of the light of Christ that people have received and which, in their own way, witnesses every day. " "We are a minority," he concludes, "but we are not isolated. We live in the midst of people and the social works we do are for the benefit of all. We are the hope for the people. "
(Sumon Corraya collaborated)
The pontiff will visit Bangladesh from 30 November to 2 December. "The pope expressed the desire to come two years ago, when the refugee crisis had not broken out." Over 620,000 Muslims have fled the Rakhine State in Myanmar.
The pontiff is expected from 30 November to 2 December. This will be the first visit after John Paul II's visit in 1986. It is a state visit as well as a pastoral visit for Christians and Muslims that will stimulate dialogue between religious communities. An interview with the archbishop of Dhaka follows.
The PIME regional superior runs the St Vincent Hospital in Dinajpur. The hospital "has a family touch that has become rooted over time.” During the year, the superior general visited the mission. The PIME missionary met with Pope Francis in Dhaka.
The Holy See's press office publishes the detailed itinerary of the papal journey. The various meetings with political personalities, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, and those with Catholic communities and representatives of religions. Laity and coexistence between religions. The Churches of Bangladesh and Myanmar "peripheries" and "insignificant", poor and evangelizing, reflections of Pope Francis's dream. Suggestions for India and China.
Joy, expectations and fears of the small and young community of the country. Bishops: "Like the Good Shepherd, the Holy Father wants to meet his flock, privileging the insignificant Churches." In the country there are 16 dioceses, 23 bishops and one cardinal elected in 2015. There are 700,000 Catholics, only 1.37% of the population. Archbishop Pyone Cho of Pyayn: "Your visit will affect the promotion of concord." Sister Dennis Ja Tawng: "Myanmar suffers ethnic conflicts, but the Pope will redeem this land."