Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario talks to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during a courtesy call at her official residence in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Nov. 12. (Photo: Focus Bangla)
A delegation of Catholic bishops in Bangladesh made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and promised to cooperate with her efforts to support neglected and disadvantaged communities.
Holy Cross Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, retired archbishop of Dhaka and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB), Archbishop-elect Benjoy N. D’Cruze of Dhaka, Auxiliary Bishop Shorot F. Gomes of Dhaka and Vatican ambassador Archbishop George Kocherry visited the premier at her official residence Ganabhaban in capital Dhaka on Nov. 12.
The bishops appreciated Hasina’s leadership in combating the Covid-19 pandemic and humanitarian support for vulnerable communities during the crisis. They have made a donation on behalf of the CBCB to the prime minister’s fund.
The premier said she has been “working untiringly for the betterment of neglected and disadvantaged people, giving priority to humanity,” Ihsanul Karim, press secretary of the PM, told the media after the meeting, reported state-run Bangladesh News Agency.
She added that her government had made efforts to rehabilitate socially ostracized and neglected leprosy patients since 1996 and undertook development works for other vulnerable groups including Bede (gypsy nomads) and hijra (transgender) people, Karim added.
The bishops also informed her that the Christian community has taken various initiatives to mark Mujib Borsho, the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s founding leader and father of Hasina.
Among the plans is one to plant 700,000 trees across Bangladesh, with 350,000 trees planted already.
Cardinal D’Rozario said that as part of Mujib Borsho programs all Catholic bishops made a pilgrimage of faith and harmony to southern Bangladesh from Nov. 6-9 that included paying tribute to the Father of the Nation at his mausoleum in Gopalganj district.
He added that the Catholic Church and Pope Francis applaud Hasina for sheltering and assisting more than 1.1 million persecuted Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.
“The Christian community will stay beside you in any situation,” Cardinal D’Rozario said.