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Bangladesh

How we helped to build a new parish house

There was great joy among the Catholics of Bangladesh when, on October 9, Pope Francis announced the name of Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka among the list of new cardinals in the Church. In this overwhelmingly Muslim country, Catholics make up only a tiny minority of just 0.2%, and in recent months and years Christians and members of other religious minorities have increasingly been the target of attacks by extremists.

For example, in November 2015 the Italian missionary Father Piero Parolari only narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. In July 2016, some 20 foreigners were murdered by Islamist terrorists who took them hostage in a restaurant in the capital of Dhaka. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the “Islamic State”. Christians Hindus and Buddhists are increasingly targets of similar kinds of attacks.

Despite this climate of terror, the Catholic faithful will not allow themselves to be intimidated. In this Year of Mercy especially, they have taken the opportunity to confront the violence and terrorism with a spirit of forgiveness.

During this Holy Year, the Catholic Church in Bangladesh has opened three Holy Doors. One of them is in the church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Hashnabad, within the Archdiocese of Dhaka. There are around 3,000 Catholics in this parish; their faith is strong and they play an active part in the life of the Church. The parish church was built in the 1770s by Portuguese missionaries and is one of the oldest Christian buildings in the country. It was renovated not long ago in 2002.

 

Bangladesh 2 ACN-20160823-45263

 

However, the adjoining presbytery, which was built 150 years ago, was in a very dilapidated state – so poor in fact that it was at risk of collapsing at any moment and deemed too dangerous to live in, the only solution was to demolish it.

 

Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we were able to contribute 21,900 CAN towards the cost of building a new parish house. This new centre, a two-storey building, provides living and working accommodations for the priests, offices for the parish secretariat, guestrooms, a meeting room for various purposes, a kitchen and refectory as well. To the joy of the priests and parishioners, this new building has now already been blessed and commissioned. They all want to express their heartfelt thanks to all who helped them, and promise their prayers for all our benefactors.

 

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