CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 December 2017

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Bangladesh visit fills pope with joy and hope

HOng Kong (SE): When Pope Francis flew Myanmar to Dhaka, Bangladesh, on the afternoon of November 30, he was welcomed by the president, Abdul Hamid, eight local bishops and a number of government leaders. The Dhaka Tribune reported that he was also accorded a 21-gun salute. 
 
After paying tribute to 1971 martyrs of the Bangladesh Liberation War, he laid a wreath at the portrait of Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum. Later that evening, the pope met with Hamid at the presidential residence of Bangabhaban and joined a gathering with other luminaries and diplomats.
 
On the morning December 1, Pope Francis ordained 16 new priests at an outdoor Mass in Suhrawardy Udyan park attended by around 100,000 people.
 
Catholic News Service reported him as telling the crowd, “I know that many of you came from afar, travelling for more than two days. Thank you for your generosity” … “Thank you so much for your fidelity” … “Continue this way with the spirit of the Beatitudes.”
 
Vatican Radio reported that after an afternoon meeting with the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Pope Francis visited the Cathedral of Dhaka and greeted the organising committee for his visit and spoke briefly to around 700 people. He then met with the country’s bishops at home for retired priests, urging them to show “even greater pastoral closeness to the lay faithful.”
 
On the final day of his trip, the pope visited the Holy Rosary Church complex, stopping at the Home of Compassion, also known as the Mother Theresa House before meeting with priests, religious, seminarians and novices at the church. He urged them to remain rooted in love and accompany people, especially in difficult times, always growing in sensitivity to the needs of those whom they are called to serve, Vatican Radio reported.
 
He finally paused at the parish cemetery to pray.
 
Pope Francis concluded his visit by meeting with around 10,000 young people at Notre Dame College, the only Catholic university in the country.
 
“I am happy that, together with Catholics, we also have with us many young Muslim friends and those from other religious backgrounds,” UCAN reported him telling his young audience.
 
He commended their determination “to foster an environment of harmony, of reaching out to others, regardless of your religious differences,” adding that he always finds “something unique” about young people, especially in their enthusiasm, adding that it makes him feel rejuvenated.
 
“Do not spend the whole day playing with your phone and ignoring the world around you,” the pope cautioned, exhorting them to “keep moving with this enthusiasm in the good times and the bad times.” '
 
Pope Francis concluded saying, “When I look at your faces I am filled with joy and hope: joy and hope for you, for your country, for the Church and for your communities …  And please, do not forget to pray for me!”

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