Young Bangladeshi Catholics told to turn off phones

Cardinal D'Rozario calls for a Friday ban so that youngsters can get closer to Jesus Christ
Young Bangladeshi Catholics told to turn off phones

Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario seen on the sidelines of a church program in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Sept. 18, 2018. In his Lenten message to young Catholics, the prelate urged them to abstain from using mobile phones. (Photo by Stephan Uttom/

In a Lenten message to young Catholics in Bangladesh, Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka called on them to get closer to Jesus Christ and to refrain from using their mobile phones on every Friday leading to Easter Sunday.

“My dear young people, during this Lent I appeal to you for a unique sacrifice. I request you to abstain from using mobile phones from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Friday starting from Ash Wednesday. During this time, you can try to strengthen your relationship with each other and with Jesus Christ,” Cardinal D’Rozario said.

His message resonates with Pope Francis’ call to young Bangladeshis during his visit to the nation in 2017.

The cardinal reiterated his appeal during his homily at the Ash Wednesday Mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in central Dhaka on March 6 where he was the main celebrant.

“I know, my dear young friends, you love your mobile phone, but it should not be more than your love for each other and for Jesus Christ who saved mankind from sins,” he told more than 3,000 faithful.

“There is a madness in today’s world — we need to grab everything on our way. But remember we came with nothing and nothing will go with us. Only our good deeds will remain, so let’s do good to others as much as we can.”

Young Catholics have expressed mixed feelings about the cardinal’s appeal.

“I take the cardinal’s message positively, I have serious doubts whether young people, who are seriously addicted to their smartphones, will pay heed to his call. I think the prelate could have asked them to reduce mobile phone use every day,” William Nokrek, a Garo Catholic and former president of Bangladesh Catholic Students’ Movement, told

Subodh Baskey, a Santal Catholic and social activist, said the call for reducing phone use is timely but should be for all seasons.

“This abstention should be practiced throughout the year, not just during Lent. Besides, we have to lead a modest and honest life. It is useless when someone abstains from meat or mobile phone during Lent but does not change bad habits or refrain from sinful acts,” Baskey told

According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, the country of about 165 million had more than 156 million mobile phone users in 2018.

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