Paus Franciscus vertrekt op 26 november naar Zuid-Azië voor bezoeken aan Myanmar (27 - 30 november) en Bangladesh (30 november - 1 december). Fr. Enbert Komol Khan (foto links), een priester uit Bangladesh die in Rome aan het Gregoriana filosofie studeert, schreef een voorbeschouwing op dit bezoek, waarnaar katholieken in beide landen verlangend uitzien. In het Katholiek Nieuwsblad van deze week verschijnt een samenvatting van dit artikel
“My soul magnifies the Lord; and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid.................; Because He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Lk 1:46-48). This is the song that the heart of Bangladesh Church sings unceasingly. At the arrival of pope John Paul II in 1986 God showed His great mercy and love. Now again after 30 years at the arrival of pope Francis, God’s infinite love is profoundly felt by the small Christian flock of Bangladesh. We are glorified. We are blessed. Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Myanmar (Nov 27 to 30) and to Bangladesh (Nov 30 to Dec 2) is a landmark in the life of both nations.
There is a sort of philosophical influence (Baul philosophy) in the sentiment of Bangladeshi people. This philosophy reveals the idea of the moner manush which signifies “person of the heart”. It believes that everything in the universe is contained in man. In the core of the heart of man there lives the moner manush who is namely the Supreme Being; the ultimate; absolute truth. The idea of moner manush is not only limited to this significance, it also indicates that through loving a human being we can make a connection with God. So we look for a moner manush to reach the ultimate moner manush. Anyone can become a moner manush to anyone. This moner manush is a very special one, most-valuable one. I am sure that the Catholics of Bangladesh are reciting with immense joy that Pope Francis is our moner manush. We are excited and spiritually inspired to announce the truth that our moner manush has come among us. Let us welcome him in our midst. Through the presence of Pope Francis God has come to visit His poor people, as cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Bangladesh also said, “pope Francis’ visit to Bangladesh is a “blessing from God” and is a “pilgrimage of the Holy Father to the soul of the people.” We, with all our simplicity and poverty, extend our whole-hearted greetings to His holiness pope Francis.
A Great Occasion of Celebration
Bangladesh is a country where the religions, religious culture and religious leaders are respected and well-accepted by all the people. All the religious occasions of different religion have been being celebrated widely. We have been participating in other religious celebration of Muslims and Hindus. But this atmosphere of harmony is being little changed in recent days due to the arisen of fundamentalism. To bring back this atmosphere we are searching for an occasion of such celebration because the nation naturally likes to devote her to any joyful celebration and becomes united. So our earnest prayer expressed through cardinal Patrick D’Rozario that papal visit will be the “celebration of religious and cultural harmony, celebration of heritage of human and moral values, celebration of love of humanity which is open to all without limits and boundaries, celebration of the evangelical and human values that the poor of society have.” With this concern the motto of the papal visit is taken as “Shomprity and Shanti” (in English, Harmony and Peace). The visit of pope Francis, the ambassador of harmony and peace, will remind Bangladesh of her great heritage and cultures of religious traditions that the reality of peace and building of a human society have always been our spiritual resource. So the theme is really befitted the spirit of the age. Bangladesh people will not miss this great occasion of celebration because this symbolizes our living together in a spirit of harmony and our common bond founded on our cultural heritage and history of liberation war in 1971.
The Arousal of faith
Psalm 122:1 recites “I rejoiced with those who said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The papal visit arouses a deep sense of Christian life and faith. Since Bangladesh is a pre-dominant Muslim country, still Christianity is known as a white-man religion in many parts of the country. I believe that Pope’s visit will ensure the existence of Christianity as one of the religions of Bangladesh. This recognition will provide awareness, a new inspiration among the Christians. It is already being noticed that being encouraged everyone becomes engaged in Spiritual writings, meditation and reflections, making posters and prayer cards, publications of memorial etc. It is found in everyone unity of service, helping and sharing hands to each other, joy and satisfaction in giving and taking through which respect and love to the Holy Father are being expressed.
When pope John Paul II visited Bangladesh in 1986 Novwmber 19, there were only 4 dioceses. On the other hand, when Pope Francis visits Bangladesh, there are 8 dioceses. We have a Cardinal as well. In the holy mass on December 1, there will be ordination of 16 deacons and about 130.000 people will be participated. This is the red letter day in the history of Bangladesh Catholic Church. This is the day when we are proud of having Catholic faith. Though we are very small Christian flock, the Church is alive. This demonstrates the sign of the maturity and spirituality of Bangladesh Church. Jesus gave the responsibility to Peter to strengthen the power of resurrection in the heart of other brothers. Therefore, this memorable event of the papal visit witnesses to the good news of Jesus. Through this remarkable event I feel the profound love of the Father, which is also revealed among the faithful of Bangladesh Church. The pope, the vicar of Christ, being a pilgrim of faith has come close to our people and has brought the neighborhood of Jesus to us. He, as protagonist of God’s love bestows on us the blessings of peace, harmony, forgiveness, love and unity. He brings us an opportunity of vicinity to Christ. Experiencing the pope personally we expect to touch, hear and be with Jesus.
Pope Francis, the supreme leader of the Catholic Church, the prophet of peace and harmony comes to Bangladesh to do a pilgrimage among us. We are blessed at the advent of this world-wide great man. His presence is a great respect to our culture and glorious history. Our expectations would be as follows:
- We do live together which is part and parcel of our culture. This is an occasion which will strengthen such togetherness and our relationship with other religions especially with Muslims and other denominations. Religious tolerance and co-habitation of all people will be more adorable than before.
- In the recent days there are some misunderstanding and mistrust among others towards Christianity. This would be an occasion to regain the trust on us. We may also show our authentic Christian identity of love and concern towards them.
- As the preparation is going on in full swing, Christian and non-Christians are working together to celebrate the great day in welcoming the Holy Father. In the holy mass, the representatives of different religions and Christian denominations will be participated. In the presence of all we pray and expect that there will be inspiration of the Holy Spirit to bring among us the unity, mercy and love. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal., 3:28).
- The whole world may hear the voice of poor people of Bangladesh through this papal visit. The local Church may get her new beginning of going forward in faith-life. People of Bangladesh may receive the abundant blessings of God so that they may produce the fruits of peace, harmony and justice in their lives.
- Lastly, I would utter the words of our Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, as he said, “our expectations from the papal visit are: confirmation and recognition of the good things that we have, appreciation of what we are, a call to take care of the poor and the youth who are our dreams and hopes, an encouragement to work for integral human development and face the challenges of climate change, and a deepening of harmony in order to build peace in society. Our faith and Christian charity will be strengthened and our commitment to serve the country and its people will be renewed”. (Source: Asia News)
The pope’s visit is certainly going to make a great impact on the Catholics’ life as well as on the national life from various points of view. Besides liturgical celebration and apostolic visit, pope will meet the prime minister, the president and diplomats, country’s bishops, priests, religious, seminarians, young people and representatives of various religions and Christian Churches. This will establish the political and diplomatic relation between Holy-see and Bangladesh more firmly. We will be more united as Bangladeshis basing on humanity and religious values, and as Christian in the love of Christ Jesus.