Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka has made an appeal to Bangladeshi Catholics to engage more in prayers to seek God’s intervention and to donate charitably to support poor and needy people during the Covid-19 pandemic. He urged all Catholics of Dhaka Archdiocese to observe special “prayers, fasting and acts of mercy” on May 14 in line with Pope Francis’ call. “I praise the Lord and thank you all for your strong faith, love and hope as Christian faithful during this grave crisis. We can win this test of faith one day by placing our trust in God,” Cardinal D’Rozario said in a pastoral letter circulated on May 7. On May 14, all priests in the archdiocese will participate in a special prayer and recollection to be united with the faithful spiritually, he said. The prelate appreciated Catholic individuals and institutions who have been supporting poor and helpless people during the nationwide shutdown and donating to the Corona Charity Fund he initiated on March 30.
Some 811 families have received aid from the fund through local parish councils and St. Vincent De Paul units in 25 Catholic parishes, while another 1,800 families in 26 parishes will receive aid starting May 15, Cardinal D’Rozario said. The prelate also encouraged Catholics to observe Laudato Si’ Week from May 16-24 to answer the call of Pope Francis to engage in a campaign of environmental cleanliness and denunciation of consumerist attitudes in private and public life. Catholic individuals, institutions and churches have been generously reaching out to needy and poor families during the pandemic. Caritas Bangladesh has distributed more than 7.5 million taka (US$88,400) in cash aid to 4,079 households, plus medical and hygiene kits and products to thousands of people in eight operational regions. A Caritas Covid-19 awareness campaign has reached 738,924 people. In Khulna district, current and former members of Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement have donated daily essentials including rice, lentils, oil and potatoes to 322 poor families who lost their jobs and income. Catholics from Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Gazipur district raised about 100,000 taka (US$1,180) in donations from local and expatriate Catholics and offered food aid to 177 needy families at the end of April. They are raising funds to offer aid to more people in the second phase in May, said one of the coordinators.
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