ASIA/BANGLADESH - Marian devotion: Catholics' love for the rosary

Friday, 24 May 2024 marian devotion  

Dhaka (Agenzia Fides) - Vincent Costa suddenly fell ill. Due to the effects of a heart attack, he was no longer able to walk properly. The 55-year-old man tells Fides: "I was shocked and sad. I did not know what to do. I turned to the Virgin Mary. I prayed the Rosary every day. Gradually I started to walk properly again. Since then "I always have a rosary in my bag and pray it regularly." University student Sharbon Rozario, 21, says his father lost his job due to illness: "At a seminar at the Holy Cross Community, I heard about the power of praying the rosary. I started praying it every day, with faith. I prayed to Mary and she helped us: "My father got well and found a new job in a restaurant in Dhaka". Juliat Gomes, a 45-year-old woman, says her daughter was unable to achieve good grades in her school exams. "I turned to our Heavenly Mother with the prayer of the Rosary and asked her to help her: now my daughter has obtained her secondary school certificate".
Like them, thousands of Catholics in Bangladesh turn faithfully to the Virgin Mary, imploring graces and praying the Rosary. Many of the faithful say that the Rosary is "an integral part of daily life." "Praying the Rosary contributes to peace in families. Since May is the month of Mary, this is a particularly privileged time to pray with faith and to spread the prayer of the Rosary," says Father Ruben Manuel Gomes, National director of the Congregation of the Saint Cross in Bangladesh.
The Holy Cross priest recalled that for centuries the Catholic Church has used the entire month of May to venerate Mary, Mother of God. In Bangladesh, Catholics show deep respect, veneration and gratitude to Mary and take part in communal Rosary prayers, vigils and Marian celebrations, especially in the month of May. "In the villages, families come together every evening to pray the Rosary together. This devotion becomes even more intense in the month of May," he explains.
In some areas there are also meetings where the faithful march through the streets in procession, singing Marian songs and carrying statues of the Virgin Mary. At night vigils, like the one in Padrishibpur parish in Barishal diocese, the faithful gather to pray the Rosary from dusk to dawn. In other areas, believers hold a nine-day novena in honor of the Blessed Mother and ask for her intercession. In May, special prayers and masses in honor of the Virgin Mary are celebrated in churches across Bangladesh, adds Father Gomes. The religious organize special seminars, meetings and conferences to promote Marian devotion, in which people of all ages participate and seek a deeper understanding of the meaning of Marian devotion and Christian spirituality. This awareness-raising ensures that Our Lady's devotion reaches people from all walks of life and enriches the faith of believers across Bangladesh. “Every year,” said the priest, “200,000 rosaries and 300,000 images of the Virgin Mary are distributed to the faithful.” He adds that there are also Marian art competitions to creatively represent the figure of Mary in the Christian faith. "Among the requests that the faithful most often make to the Blessed Mother are: prayer for peace, healing, intercession for the departed souls of their loved ones. All these practices reflect the deep devotion and love for the Virgin Mary within the Catholic community in Bangladesh", says Father Gomes. And at a time when new technologies are becoming more widespread, "we often broadcast the Rosary live on the Internet to expand participation as much as possible," he concludes. (PA/FC) (Agenzia Fides, 24/5/2024)