Pope Francis arrived Thursday, November 30 for his pastoral visit to the people of Bangladesh and the Catholic community there. Landing in a Bangladeshi airline from Myanmar, 164 years after the first religious of Holy Cross arrived after the long, arduous journey from France, he found a Church that, while a small percentage of the population in this Moslem dominant country, is very much alive, joyful, faithful and close to God — a Church which has been inculturated in many ways and is an example of interfaith and inter-religious dialogue and collaboration. So much of the story of the history of the Catholic Church in Bangladesh is directly due to the presence of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and its mission.
Today we find Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, CSC; Archbishop Moses Costa, CSC (President of the Bangaldeshi Bishops Conference); four other CSC Bishops as well as the Sisters, Brothers and Priests of Holy Cross serving in Bangladesh. There are many young people in various stages of formation, called to serve in religious life and priesthood. There are outstanding schools, vibrant parishes — some with outposts of more than 30 villages all with a Chapel and faith community — and many working for human rights and justice issues.
On Friday, Pope Francis visited the campus of Notre Dame College and welcomed Catholic young people from across the country! To have him on the campus of the Congregation’s mission in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is a great honor. There is a also formation house on the campus, as well as a residence for boys from various parts of the country where Holy Cross serves who intend to complete their education at Notre Dame College. In addition, on the property is the well-known and respected vocational training school which Fr. James Banas, CSC guided for so many years.
For the gathering of the young people with Pope Francis, through generous gifts from the Holy Cross Mission Center, it has been possible support the travel for more than 500 of the students and young adults from the distant parishes to make the journey together to Dhaka for these days. They are some of the well-formed young Catholics of the country who will become leaders of their communities, especially in the tribal areas, in years to come. We hope this will be a transformative moment in their lives of faith!
After the Youth Rally, Pope Francis was welcomed at Notre Dame University Bangladesh. Started in 2013, the University is in its early stages of development; Pope Francis officially blessed the cornerstone of the University. Fr. Patrick Gaffney, CSC, vice-chancellor, Fr. James Cruze, CSC, Provincial, and many others of the faculty, staff and Holy Cross community greeted him as he gave his blessing on this new educational mission of Holy Cross.
POPE VISIT IN BANGLADESH 2017 OFFICIAL THEME SONG
Posted by Probir Mondol on Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Finally on Saturday morning, Pope Francis held a gathering with the religious serving in Bangladesh. Invited as well were our young religious in formation. Some of them sang for the Pope at this event, and have been preparing and rehearsing for more than a month.
Pope Francis ordained five CSCs to the priesthood during his visit to Bangladesh. Our friends at Salt & Light TV are documenting the trip, including all of the important talks and recordings of the major events during the visit. Many videos of Papal-visit events are available at Salt & Light TV.
Copyright 2017 Rev. Michael McGrath DeLaney, CSC, Director, Holy Cross Mission Center