BANGLADESH - “Bible Week” in Satkhira: the first ever in the country, on the occasion of the Year of St. Paul
Dacca (Agenzia Fides) – For the first time in the history of the Church in Bangladesh, there is a Bible exposition and a “Bible Week” attracting not only Christian faithful, but also non-Christians. The initiative has been launched, with the occasion of the Year of St. Paul, in the parish of Satkhira, a town with 50,000 inhabitants, located east of Khulna, near the border with India.
The inauguration of “Bible Week,” with an exposition (“Bible Mela”) took place on January 11, after an Opening Mass. After a simple procession, Fr. Lorenzo Valoti, parish priest at the Catholic mission in Satkhira prayed for the Lord's blessing and cut the ribbon signifying the inauguration of the event. Following the procession, “the Bible was solemnly placed on a lectern, as a sign of the presence of God among us,” Xaverian missionary Fr. Giovanni Gargano told Agenzia Fides, parish assistant and director of the boys' orphanage in Satkhira.
“The goal of the exposition,” Fr. Gargano said, “is to motivate Christians to use the Bible, so that it can be more frequently read by youth and adults. Another objective is that of multiplying the groups for Bible reflection in the various Christian communities and villages of the Satkhira area.”
The exposition features Bibles from all over the world in various languages: Japanese, Chinese, Panjabi, Hindu, Urdu, German, and Arabic. The people who visit the exposition before January 18 can purchase a Bible in Bengali, the “Jubilee Bible” (approved by the Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh), as well as Bible study texts, exegesis, and pastoral guides. The program for the week includes activities for children, youth, and adults. Bishop Bejoy D'Cruze of Khulna is also expected to offer a retreat for adults in the parish at Satkhira.
The local press is also showing great interest in this Bible exposition, announcing the event in the newspapers, which is a great joy for the local Church.
“The Bible is still a book yet to be discovered, but above all to be lived and to bear witness to with one's own life. Initiatives like this one are a direct proposal to Christians, so that they may be more aware of the Word of God, testifying to it among their Hindu and Muslim brothers and sisters, as well,” concluded Fr. Gargano. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/1/2009)