ASIA/BANGLADESH - Bangladeshi Catholics among those in need

Wednesday, 20 December 2023 charity   christmas   suburbs  

Lic. Creative Comons 2.20 Sudipta Arka Das

Dhaka (Agenzia Fides) - In the heart of Dhaka, the Catholic parish of Tejgaon radiates the true spirit of Advent, highlighting the importance of solidarity with those in need. In the metropolitan bustle of Dhaka, where daily life is frenetic, around two thousand Catholics in the suburbs depend on daily income to survive. To fully experience Advent and Christmas, the Holy Rosary confraternity of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) in Tejgaon is committed to providing help and support to these needy families. A meaningful gesture that reflects the true Christmas spirit of love and compassion towards those less fortunate. In recent days, lay members of the Catholic fraternity in Bangladesh have carried out visits to the slums to distribute generous gifts to 200 families in dire need. These gifts included contributions of cash, food, and clothing. Raton Gomes, one of the beneficiaries, has expressed his gratitude, commenting that the cash contribution will allow him to buy food such as meat and oil. Gomes, a 75-year-old man with no state pension, depends on his son, who works as a day laborer in Mogbazar, Dhaka. The elder states that he sometimes seeks help from the Tejgaon parish for medical expenses and highlights the constant support of the fraternity of St. Vincent de Paul. Arpa Rozario, a 50-year-old woman, widow and mother of two children, shares her experiences during the holidays: "Every holiday season I find myself in difficulty because I cannot dedicate the time and celebrate I would like to with my children. Thanks to the generous offer of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP), I was able to purchase new clothes for my daughters. I thank God and bless these brothers who give us their support."
Bruno Dias, president of the Tejgaon fraternity, details the recent activities of the SVP and highlights the solidarity within the parish community: "In recent weeks, members of the SVP have been raising funds among our neighbors. Thanks to the generosity from donors, we can assist those who need it most, mostly the elderly, disabled, widows and unemployed. In Dhaka, a city where poverty is widespread, many people come seeking help. We strive to give priority to the most vulnerable," explains Dias.
Recognizing the precarious conditions in which these people live, Bruno Dias highlights the fundamental mission of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul: to unite faith and charity, since, according to him, "faith without works is dead." In the process of cultivating the spiritual life of its members, he emphasizes that the confraternity seeks to bear witness to Christ through brotherly love, address situations that generate suffering and poverty, and serve others without distinction of ethnicity or religion. During the distribution of gifts, Fr. Subrato Boniface Gomes, parish priest of the parish of Tejgaon, encouraged the beneficiaries not only to ask for help, but also to actively participate in the Christmas celebrations and sacraments together with the entire community. "Come to church to worship and praise God, who becomes man, Christ who comes closer to our lives. Come and pray for benefactors." Expressing his gratitude for the commitment of the members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Father Subrato Boniface Gomes highlights their significant contribution in supporting the needy in the parish. "They serve people in need on behalf of all of us, being a constant presence in our area and acting as an antenna for the community. We thank them wholeheartedly and give them our full support. Tushar Corraya, a Catholic member of the Tejgaon parish and SVP supporter, shares his feelings with a spiritual perspective: "On this Advent journey, we reflect on the coming of Jesus Christ into our hearts and prepare to receive him. We seek to live an Advent marked by brotherhood. We willingly give our contribution to the needy through the SVP. By donating, I hope that Christmas will truly be a time of joy and mercy for all of us". (PA/FC) (Agenzia Fides, 20/12/2023)