Pope Francis has sent a video message of greetings and blessings to the people of Bangladesh as he prepares to undertake a three-day apostolic journey to the nation from November 30 to December 2.
The Bangladesh trip comes as the second leg of a journey that also takes him to Myanmar from November 27 to November 30.
This is the second time a supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church will visit Bangladesh. Pope John Paul II visited Bangladesh in 1986.
In his message, the Pope said he is looking forward to being with the people of Bangladesh and to proclaim the Gospel message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.
He highlighted the significance of a scheduled meeting with religious leaders and said that “We live in times in which believers and men of goodwill in all places are called to promote reciprocal understanding and respect and to sustain each other as members of one human family.”
Here is the full translation of his message-
As I prepare to visit Bangladesh in a few days’ time, I wish to send a message of greeting and friendship to entire population. I look forward to the moment in which we shall be together.
I come as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to proclaim his message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. My visit is to confirm the Catholic community in Bangladesh in its faith and witness to the Gospel that recognizes the dignity of every man and woman and calls us to open our hearts to others, especially to the poor and needy.
At the same time I wish to encounter the entire population. In a special way, I look forward to meeting with religious leaders at Ramna, in Dhaka. We live in times in which believers and men of goodwill in all places are called to promote reciprocal understanding and respect, and to sustain each other as members of one human family.
I know that there are many people in Bangladesh who are working hard to prepare for my visit and I thank them. I ask each of you for prayers so that my days with you may be a source of hope and encouragement for all. Upon you and your families I invoke the divine blessings of joy and peace! See you before long!
Meanwhile in Dhaka, the committee that formed on the occasion of the arrival of the Holy See on Tuesday revealed in a press conference that the Pope may talk about the sufferings of the Rohingya people, reports UNB.
"Nationally we can hope that he will talk about the issue as his massage will spread across the world very fast," Catholic Archbishop of Dhaka Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario said during the press conference took place at Dhaka’s Archbishop House.
According to the tour schedule, after a welcome ceremony at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on November 30, Pope Francis will pay homage to Bangladesh's martyrs and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
He will make a courtesy visit to the president and address the diplomatic corps after that.
On December 1, the Pope will address a public mass, meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the country's bishops and representatives of various religions and Catholic churches. On December 2, before flying back, the pope will make a private visit to the Tejgaon Mother Theresa House and meet with youths at Notre Dame College in the city.
Caritas Bangladesh former Executive Director Alo D'Rozario, among others present at the press conference.