Bangladeshi people, irrespective of religion or ethnicity, have provided financial and other support for Pope Francis’ upcoming trip, Catholic Church officials say.
Holy Cross Father Hemonto P. Rozario, who heads a special committee dealing with financial aspects of the visit, said the estimated US$250,000 cost is being covered by private and institutional donations.
The support was being provided by both Christian and non-Christian sources, Father Rozario said.
In addition to money, sponsors will be providing transportation for pilgrims and venues complete with electricity and water supply.
“Irrespective of caste and creed, they have opened their hearts to express their maximum generosity to contribute for the papal trip to Bangladesh,” Father Rozario said.
“They have not only come up with money, but also with their hard work, materials, time and advice.
Catholics in Bangladesh’s eight dioceses have also contributed for papal events.
Some 30,000 people would attend a papal Mass at Suhrawardy Udyan park in Ramna near Holy Rosary Catholic Church in central Dhaka, Bangladesh’s largest and wealthiest parish, according to Father Kamal Corraya, the parish priest.
Catholics have been preparing for the papal visit with special prayers after weekday Masses, he said.
Abdur Rashid, the Muslim owner of a photo shop near Holy Rosary Church, has stocks of photos of Pope Francis’ as well as religious images depicting Jesus, Mother Mary, St. Mother Teresa and various other saints.
Rashid, aged 65, is hoping his sales will soar in coming days.
Some 8,000 T-shirts donated to the church by a Catholic businessman for the papal visit are to be sold as part of fund-raising efforts.
The Catholic bishops’ Christian communication center has produced key rings bearing Pope Francis’ photo that are also to be sold.