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Catholics take stock of ever rising challenges

Poor attendance and lack of youth appeal are chief concerns

Dhaka archbishop Patrick D’Rozario speaks at the meeting yesterday Dhaka archbishop Patrick D’Rozario speaks at the meeting yesterday
  • Bangladesh
  • November 9, 2012
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About 300 Catholics including bishops, priests and Religious, met yesterday to discuss the growing challenges to Catholicism.

Lack of interest in the Church and catechism, dwindling attendance, and a crisis of marital life were among the chief concerns cited by delegates in the meeting at Holy Rosary Church in Tejgaon.

“Many Catholics – especially in urban areas – don’t attend Sunday Mass after office hours. Many parents don’t encourage their children to go to church. Today, Catholic families don’t have time for Mass and evening prayers, which is creating a vacuum in their moral life,” said Koruna Gomes, a housewife from Dhaka who attended the meeting.

She added that if this trend continues, the coming generations of Catholics could turn out to be “non-practising.”

Cornelius Costa, 27, said young Catholics in particular face multiple challenges.

“It is true that young people are losing their heart for the Church because either they are too attached to modern ways of life or they don’t like a particular priest or sermon delivered during homily,” he said.

Father Tapan D’Rozario, a parish priest and professor of world religion and culture at Dhaka University, said despite its best efforts the Church is failing to attract younger people.

“There are many Church activities and trainings all year round, but they are fruitless. Our church and families are failing to play their role in enlightening lives of the younger generation,” the priest said.

Joseph Rozario, 51, a Catholic schoolteacher, said Church activities are still dominated by clergy and religious, and that laypeople have little say or opportunity for leadership.

“In most Church activities, laypeople are usually participants; very few have organizing roles. Unless more lay involvement is ensured, the Church is not going to prosper.”

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