Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Mumbai, as the President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) was there with Pope Francis during all his visits to the Asian countries including Myanmar and Bangladesh, the last of Pope’s visits to Asia. For him, the Pope chooses to visit the weaker churches.
The Asian countries Pope visited earlier marked a special event such as the Asian Youth Day in Korea, Canonization of St. Joseph Vaz in Sri Lanka but Myanmar and Bangladesh had no joyful event as these but the backdrop of the Refugee crisis. For the Cardinal, the Pope’s visit to these countries in distress was like ‘a brother reaching out to a brother in agony’.
If in Myanmar the public Mass had gathered a huge crowd even though the Catholic population is not a big number, Bangladesh was a model of interreligious collaboration.
Speaking to C Coutinho of Vatican News during his recent visit to Rome, the Cardinal said that Pope’s visit to both Myanmar and Bangladesh was very successful yet challenging.