Bangladesh Parish Takes Innovative Approach to Mass and Prayers
Catholic villagers in Bangladesh can participate in daily prayers and Sunday masses during the Covid lockdown through a public address system.
Almost 3,400 members of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Diocese of Khulna in the district of Jessore can follow morning mass, evening prayers and Sunday prayers from their homes thanks to the initiative of the parish .
The morning mass and the evening rosary are presided over by the priest from inside the church, but the villagers participate from their homes. Sunday Mass is celebrated in the same way, but if anyone wishes to receive the Eucharist, the priest remains in the church after Mass. The parishioners arrive separately to receive the Eucharist.
âAs our area is entirely Christian, it was easy to offer prayers over the public address system here. Only 20 people attended the church on Sunday, but the villagers can join the house, âsaid the parish priest, Father Bablu Lawrence Sarker.
Each week, the parish pays only 500 taka (US $ 6) for sound equipment because their owner is also Catholic.
The parishioners are delighted with the initiative taken by the parish priest.
If we did not take this initiative, we would be deprived of Mass and our children would devote this time to other things like watching television and playing online games.
In predominantly Muslim Bangladesh, it is customary for mosques to use a public address system to cover entire villages. However, this is the first time that a Catholic parish has installed a sound system to cover the entire village for Christian prayers and mass, parishioners said.
Mongla Biswas, 70, joins mass and evening prayers every day from her home with seven family members.
âEvery day, masses are celebrated at 6.30 am and the rosary at 6 pm. People can reach them from their homes. Due to the restrictions related to Covid-19, people cannot attend church. Even if someone doesn’t fully participate in Mass and prayers, they at least make the sign of the cross, âBiswas told UCA News.
âIf we did not take this initiative, we would be deprived of Mass and our children would devote this time to other things like watching television and playing online games. But thanks to this initiative, we are able to stay connected to Christ through prayer. ”
Bishop James Romen Boiragi of Khulna, who is also chair of social communications for the Bangladesh Bishops’ Conference, welcomed the initiative but said that people’s participation in Masses via public broadcasts is not ideal.
âFor a short time during the Covid-19 epidemic, we supported this type of home mass, but it’s not the right way to get people involved. Moreover, this was only possible because it is a Catholic region where there are no followers of other religions, âBishop Boiragi told UCA News.