UCA News

Bangladesh

Church celebrates Xaverian founder

Conforti founded Foreign Missions Society in 1895

Sumon Corraya, Dhaka

Sumon Corraya, Dhaka

Updated: December 22, 2011 06:11 AM GMT
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Church celebrates Xaverian founder
A Catholic woman kneels before the image of Saint Guido Maria Conforti, canonized yesterday in Rome, at Holy Rosary Church in Dhaka
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Local Catholics yesterday joined confreres from the Society of St Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions in celebrating the sainthood of their founder Guido Maria Conforti. In a ceremony in St Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI canonized two Italians, Archbishop Guido Maria Conforti and Father Luigi Guanella, along with Spanish nun Bonifacia Rodriguez De Castro and urged the faithful to follow their examples of a holy life devoted to charity. Parishioners attended a meeting on the life and works of Conforti followed by a special Mass yesterday celebrated by the Italian Xaverian missioner Fr Alfio Coni at the Holy Rosary Church in Tejgaon in honor of the canonization. “As a priest and bishop, St Guido Maria Conforti was dedicated to service as a missioner. The Church has rewarded his efforts by declaring him a saint. We thank God for this privilege,” Fr Coni said in his homily. A young priest whose poor health prevented him from becoming a missionary, Conforti founded the St Francis Xavier Foreign Missions Society in 1895. He also served as archbishop of Ravenna and governed the diocese of Parma for 24 years. Fr Coni yesterday also urged young Catholics to join the religious life and become missioners to the world. Veronica Cruze, 40, attended Sunday’s celebratory Mass and rejoiced over the work of missioners in Bangladesh. “Four hundred years ago, there were no Christians in Bengal [now Bangladesh]. Because the missionaries evangelized, we were able to embrace Christianity. The time has come to send our children out as missioners to those places where people don’t know Jesus Christ.” Bangladesh has 30 foreign Xaverian missioners working in the country. The local Church has also produced three Bangladeshis serving in mission work abroad. Related Reports: The Church is in need of more missioners Film honors Italian missioner in Bangladesh

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