Sermons, messages from the bishop and Sunday masses are broadcast online. The aim is "to nourish the spirit of the faithful who cannot participate in the liturgy". In Bangladesh, the day of rest is Friday. The videos are also appreciated by non-Catholics.
Rajshahi (AsiaNews) - Sermons and masses online: this is how the diocese of Rajshahi is revolutionizing evangelization in Bangladesh. The goal says Fr. Patrick Gomes, secretary of the Diocesan Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue, is "to give the opportunity to feed the spirit even to those who cannot come to Mass on Sunday because they work, given that the day of rest here is Friday".
The initiative is by Fr. Belisario Ciro Montoya, Colombian missionary "fidei donum" with the PIME fathers (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions). In 2017, together with the Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue of the Diocese of Rajshahi, he opened the first Bangladeshi Catholic Church YouTube channel. Rajshahi is still the only diocese in the country to have its own means of communication online.
Videos on sermons, bishop's messages and Sunday masses are published on the channel. Fr. Belisario says that the first videos were made with his phone, “in a completely amateur way because I never did a training course. I learned when I was in seminary and now I use this hobby to spread the Gospel."
The priest is the pastor of the Chandpukur mission. He says: “When I started uploading the videos I noticed that the audience response was positive. Many viewers left messages of appreciation." At the beginning, he continues, "we encountered several difficulties in recording videos, since the connection is not very good in rural areas. It is very complicated to upload videos, also I didn't have a camera. Last year [I went back to Colombia] and bought a good video camera. In addition, a working internet has recently been installed. "
In Bangladesh, the missionary highlights, “everyone uses a cell phone and can watch sermons directly on the phone. I love this pastoral work which is different from the usual one which I do in the parish. The faithful and the bishop really appreciate it." The next goal, he adds, "is to make a film about the life of a saint, because no one has ever made a Bengali film on this subject."
In the video for the Lenten message, Msgr. Gervas Rozario, bishop of Rajshahi, underlines: “Lent is a time of prayer. Through prayer we can be saints. Lent teaches us moderation."
Fr Gomes stresses the importance of the tool to be able to spread the faith to those who are unable to participate in the liturgy. The sermons, he adds, “are pronounced in three languages: Bengali, orao and santal. Bengali ones are very popular. Videos show that people need the teachings of the Church. "
Shymol Rozario, who follows online, declares: “I like the sermons of priests. I look at them in my spare time, and so I seem to pray and honor God. I thank the priests who produced them. " In addition to Catholics, faithful of other religions also look at them. Among them, Hillol Sarker, Hindu, who says: "I found sermons on Almighty God and received good lessons from these videos."