DHAKA – Pope Francis congratulated the Catholic community in Bangladesh on Friday for its history of service to the poorest and encouraged them to do even more for refugees.
The Pope was speaking to several bishops at the Archbishop of Dhaka’s residence on the second day of his visit to the country.
“The Catholic community in Bangladesh can be proud of its history of service to the poor, especially in remote areas and tribal communities; it continues this outreach daily through its educational apostolates, its hospitals, clinics and health centers, and the variety of its organized charitable works,” he said.
However, he reminded the audience that, in light of the present refugee crisis, much more needs to be done.
“The inspiration for your works of assistance to the needy must always be that pastoral charity which is quick to recognize human woundedness and to respond with generosity, one person at a time,” he added.
He urged the bishops to express greater pastoral closeness while dealing with the ordinary faithful and promote their participation in their churches.
“I think here of the many dedicated catechists in this country, whose apostolate is essential for the growth of the faith and for the Christian formation of the next generation,” the Supreme Pontiff said.
In this context, he added that they were true missionaries and leaders of prayer, especially in remote regions, and urged the audience to be concerned for their spiritual needs and for their continuing education in the faith.
“The Church’s commitment to pursuing interreligious understanding ...contributes to the spread of good will and harmony. Work unremittingly to build bridges and to foster dialogue, for these efforts not only facilitate communication between different religious groups, but also awaken the spiritual energies needed for the work of nation building in unity, justice and peace,” the Pope said.
After the meeting, Pope Francis privately visited some of the ailing priests who reside at the Archbishop’s residence.