Archbishop Francis Gomes of Dhaka, Bangladesh spoke recently on the extraordinary visit of Pope Francis to his country. “By coming to Bangladesh the Pope first of all wanted to show, as spiritual leader, trust in our country and attention towards the Bengali people. We are grateful. The whole country stopped to welcome him and follow his gestures and words. For the little flock of our Church it was an exciting and important moment from a spiritual point of view, because he came to encourage and strengthen the faith of the people of God.”
He went on: “The Pope showed us that he has the poor and the little ones at heart. In addition, political authorities, civil society, Muslim religious leaders wanted to meet and talk with him: it was a fruitful intercultural and interreligious exchange, precious for our country and precious for the small communities present here, such as the Christian one.”
During the time more than a half a million Royhinga Muslims were forced to leave Myanmar and seek refuge in Bangladesh to escape mass killings by the government there. “The meeting with the Rohingya refugees that the Pope wanted to meet one by one, in person will remain engraved in our memory – continues Mgr. Gomes – showing a great empathy, expressing love, compassion and also the need to meet their needs. Our request for forgiveness still resounds in our hearts, made in the name of all humanity. We all feel involved in this forgiveness, as men and as Christians. And we feel involved in the commitment to help them”. The Pope recently produced a video to speak of religious minorities in Asia who suffer persecution, both Christian and Catholic.