UCA News

Bangladesh

Bangladesh marks founding father's birth centenary

Catholics defy coronavirus fears to hold special Masses in honor of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Bangladesh marks founding father's birth centenary

A man walks past a countdown clock set up for Mujib Borsho (Mujib Year), the centenary of the birth of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s founding father, in front of parliament on Jan. 14. (Photo: Stephan Uttom/UCA News)

Share this article :
Christians have joined their countrymen in paying tribute to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s founding father, on his birth centenary amid growing fears over the coronavirus pandemic.

Catholic churches across Bangladesh held special Masses on the morning of March 17 to pay homage to the father of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the ruling Awami League party.

About 700 Catholics attended a Mass at Holy Rosary Church in Tejgaon in central Dhaka, the country’s largest Catholic parish, and took part in a session to reflect on the life and works of “Mujib” organized by Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA) and the Christian Religious Welfare Trust.

“Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not just a great politician and statesman, but he was a visionary and a man of spirituality. He is our beacon of hope many years after his death, and his love for everyone is our everyday inspiration,” Bishop Shorot Francis Gomes of Dhaka said during his homily.

The Mass and reflection program for Mujib also included an appeal for special prayers as the world shivers from fatalities and panic from coronavirus outbreak, said Father Bulbul A. Rebeiro, secretary of the Catholic bishops’ Social Communication Commission.

“This is difficult moment for the humanity as the world battles the deadly virus. As we pay tribute to the great leader, we have also urged the faithful to pray to God, so God can help Bangladesh and the world to overcome the crisis,” Father Rebeiro told UCA News.

Catholics will plant 400,000 fruit trees across the country as part of the Church’s range of programs during the year, the priest added.

Although the government has advised people to keep a low profile at public gatherings, people were enthusiastic about the birth centenary of the father of the nation, said BCA president Nirmol Rozario.

“The program with a Mass, hoisting of national flag, reflection and cutting of a birthday cake drew a good response from people despite the panic over coronavirus. People defied the odds to pay tribute to the great leader who lived and died for the welfare of all people,” Rozario told UCA News.

Hundreds of Christians will take part in a candlelight procession on the evening of March 17 and join political, social and cultural organizations to place wreaths on a portrait of Mujib in front of his former residence at 32 Dhanmondi in Dhaka, he added.

An official inauguration ceremony of year-long activities for Mujib Borsho (Mujib Year) due to be held on March 17 in National Parade Square in Dhaka was postponed because of Covid-19. It was expected to be attended by 100,000 people including heads of state.

Other state-sponsored events include short films, documentaries, international awards, memorial books and speeches by Mujib in Bengali and English, seminars and cultural functions.  

Bangladesh has detected eight patients with Covid-19, most of them returnees from Italy, the worst-affected European country. More than 2,000 people, mostly returnees from Europe and China, have been put in isolation in home quarantine, health officials said.

The government has shut down all education institutes from March 17-31, banned inbound flights from Europe and China, and sealed off land borders with neighboring India in an attempt to keep the virus at bay.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM

Publisher

Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."