Dhaka’s Holy Rosary Church ready to welcome Pope Francis
Saturday, Dec. 2 is the last day of Pope Francis’ Nov. 27-Dec 2 apostolic visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh. He flies back to Rome Saturday evening at the end of his Nov. 30-Dec. 2 Bangladesh trip.
On Saturday, the Pope has three appointments at the Holy Rosary Church complex in the city’s Tejgaon district. In the morning he will be visiting what is known and the “House of Mother Teresa”, then visit the church where he will address priests, religious, seminarians and novices after which he will visit the parish cemetery and the old Church of the Holy Rosary.
House of Mother Teresa
The "House of Mother Teresa", inaugurated in 1976, is the smallest among the homes in Dhaka run by the Missionaries of Charity (MC) of St. Mother Teresa. It was chosen by the saintly nun as her base while visiting the capital. The Mother Teresa House is part of the Holy Rosary parish complex that also includes the old Portuguese Church of the Holy Rosary. Currently, the “Home of Compassion” at the Mother Teresa House offers treatment and help to thousands of orphans and people with mental and physical disabilities.
The MC nuns also have a children’s “Shishu Bhavan” home in Dhaka’s Islampur district. It was begun in the early 70s to cater mostly to girl mothers, recognized by the government as “biranganas” or war heroines – women who were raped and made pregnant by Pakistani soldiers during Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971. Many of the children born there have been adopted by families in Europe, North America and Australia.
Pope Francis will not deliver any discourse at the House of Mother Teresa but will meet and bless the children.
The Pope will then walk a short distance to the Holy Rosary Church, which is also known as he Japamala Rani Church in Bengali by locals, where he will address priests, religious, seminarians and novices.
After the encounter, the Pope visit the adjoining parish cemetery, one of the two Christian cemeteries of the capital, where the Pope will pray briefly for those buried there. He will then visit the adjacent old Holy Rosary Church that Portuguese Augustinian missionaries founded in 1677, and which is now used as a chapel for perpetual adoration. Here too, Pope Francis will not deliver a discourse but will meet and bless orphans taken care of by the nuns.
Tejgaon preparing for Pope
Vatican reporter, Fr. Dilip Ekka who visited the Holy Rosary Church earlier this week, said the local community is preparing for the Pope’s visit.
Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka celebrated a thanksgiving Mass in the church on Nov. 24, expressing his appreciation for the work to the different core committees for their preparation, saying it is for the “glory of God.”
Fr. Kamal Corraya, the parish priest of the Holy Rosary Church told Fr. Ekka the faithful have been preparing for the success of the Pope visit offering special Masses and observing a day of fast.
According to Mr. Francis Costa, a parishioner, the Pope visiting Bangladesh is like the “king of peace” coming to the people. Visibly moved, he said the the entire population of Tejgaon area is filled with joy. The Pope visiting the tiny Catholic community of the nation, according to Costa, is a blessing.