Caritas Bangladesh has started celebrating its golden jubilee with a year-long program.
The social service arm of the local Church launched the celebrations with a rally from Chittagong on Nov. 25 that will continue until October 2022 in various parts of the country.
Events included the hoisting of the national flag and Caritas flag, unveiling of balloons and peace doves with festoons, planting of trees, official launch of a photograph gallery, prayers and the lighting of candles, discussions and cultural events.
Cardinal Patrick D’ Rozario, Bishop Ramen Bairagi, Archbishop Bejoy D’Cruze and Bishop Lawrence Subrata Howlader joined other bishops, Caritas executive director Sebastian Rozario and other Catholic officials for the program.
Although Caritas Bangladesh started its journey as the eastern branch of then Pakistan in 1967, it was formed after the cyclone of 1970 to help the people of the affected coastal areas. On June 19, 1972, it was approved by the government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, a newly independent country.
At present Caritas is working in 187 subdistricts in 53 of the country’s 64 districts. It has a national office in capital Dhaka and regional offices in each of Bangladesh’s eight dioceses.
Caritas Bangladesh envisions a society which embraces the values of freedom, justice, peace and forgiveness
Caritas is running 112 projects with about 1.6 million beneficiaries. It also operates 10 training centers, 248 cyclone centers, 11 technical schools, 32 tuberculosis centers and leprosy treatment centers, two drug treatment centers and 36 daycare centers. It also supports sex workers and street children.
Program director James Gomes said Caritas aims to gain the support of more individuals and organizations to build an egalitarian, just and peaceful society that encourages the new generation to love their neighbors and serve the poor.
“In the light of the social teachings of the Church, Caritas Bangladesh envisions a society which embraces the values of freedom, justice, peace and forgiveness, allowing all to live as a communion and community of mutual love and respect,” he said.
“We are working to promote education rights and inclusive quality education, improvement of the living standards of indigenous peoples, ecological conservation and development.”
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Mohammad Abed Ali, 45, a fisherman and father of five in coastal Patuakhali district, said people there will always remember the help they received from Caritas after natural disasters.
Bishops and Caritas officials plant trees as part of the celebrations. (Photo: Caritas Bangladesh)
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