ASIA/BANGLADESH - The Pope's presence will promote respect and appreciation towards the local Christians

Friday, 1 December 2017 religious minorities   religious freedom   evangelization   pope francis   pastoral visit   islam   mass media  

Dhaka (Agenzia Fides) - "The Pope is at the center of national attention. Some events of the Pope's visit are broadcast live on state television. There is a very positive attitude towards the Pope in all mass media, and this is precious for the minority of local Christians: a beneficial effect affects us and will last over time. Moreover Pope Francis is the witness of God’s love for the people of Bangladesh, who responds with respect and appreciation towards the local Christians: is what Fr. Nikhil Andrew Gomes says to Agenzia Fides, a priest engaged in social communications and Director of the "Khristo Jyoti" Pastoral Diocesan Center in Rajshahi diocese.
The Director notes: "The Pope is at the center of the media's attention these days, the interest of the local media is very high, and television channels have given much attention to the Pope’s visit, and young Bangladeshi express their enthusiasm on social networks. The Pope is a prominent figure in the world and is a famous spiritual leader in Asia, even in social media". From media coverage it is evident that "Pope Francis is welcomed by all, not only by Christians, but also by Muslims", he notes.
Fr. Gomes explains to Fides: "Bangladeshi journalists are very interested in publishing news on the Pope's visit to Bangladesh: over 300 local journalists were accredited to the Mass Media Committee created by the Bishops. At a national level they well remember that Pope Francis spoke strongly against violence and in 2013, when the disaster of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh occurred, with the death of so many workers, Francis showed his closeness and solidarity. This remained engraved in the conscience of the Bangladeshi people".
"These days – he continues - the heart of the small Catholic community of Bangladesh, only 0.2% of the population, vibrates with enthusiasm and joy. The Pope brings his evangelical witness to a Muslim majority country: this is a strong encouragement for young Catholics but also priests, and all Catholics will be inspired to see and hear the pontiff".
For the Bangladeshi Church, Fr. Gomes says, "the presence of the Pope represents the opportunity to communicate and to have contacts with other lay media, thus making it easier to better know the faith and the Catholic Church. The committee created for the media has begun producing and disseminating documents and articles on Pope Francis and on the activities of the Church of Bangladesh, including an audio CD, two documentaries and a Bengali language book on the Pope's life, and a photographic album will also be published at the end of the trip. We are convinced – he concludes - that the Catholic community in Bangladesh, in its small minority life in an Islamic country, will benefit greatly from the Pope’s apostolic visit". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 1/12/2017)