During his visit to Bangladesh, from November 30 to December 2, 2017, Pope Francis “will be welcomed by all, not only by the Christians but also by the Muslims and the Hindus,” said Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dacca, as reported by Vatican Radio.
Reacting to the official announcement of the trip on August 28, the Cardinal said, “The people are already ready. We have been waiting for the news for some time. Pope Francis will be welcomed by all, not only by the Christians, but also by the Muslims and by the Hindus, because Bangladesh has an enormous cultural richness and our presence is accepted by all.”
Xaverian missionary Marcello Storgato recalled on Vatican Radio the atmosphere of “great expectation” for the “Pope of the littlest ones.”
Cardinal D’Rozario stressed the “great variety of culture, of faiths and of ethnic” groups of the country, which is 90 percent Muslim and eight percent Hindu, the remaining minority representing the Christians, Buddhists and traditional religions. He explained that the Catholic Church has different origins, notably Portuguese, as well as members from “outside castes” who are “still scorned.”
The Xaverian missionary explained that the Catholic communities are “very engaged.” The Church is “poor but very courageous,” active in the missions and in social and educational works, such as “schools, hospitals, development and savings cooperatives.”
Mentioning the menace of terrorism, he said that the government is attentive to young people “so that they won’t fall into the terrorists’ extremist networks.” He hopes that the Pope’s visit, 31 years after that of John Paul II in 1986, will be an encouragement “to dialogue, to harmony and to peace.”