The Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB) held a national training on interreligious dialogue at Christo Jyoti Pastoral Centre in the diocese of Rajshahi from 25 to 30 April.
Eight dioceses of the Bangladesh Church leaders, nuns, and priests participated in the six-day training seminar. As many as 64 people took part in the program.
The theme of this training was "Interfaith Dialogue-Harmony: The perspective of the Catholic Church.”
The event was presided over by Archbishop Bejoy Nicephorus D’Cruze and chairman of CBCB's Christian Unity and Interfaith Dialogue Commission.
In his inaugural speech, Archbishop D’Cruze said, "Christians in Bangladesh are a minority. But little by little Church is growing.”
“At the same time, we realize that the educated people of our country want to see a secular Bangladesh. They want to see people of all kinds and religions of Bangladesh living together,” he added.
Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi, said, “The purpose of this training is to see how we can interact with each other. Moreover, we need to know the beliefs of all religions and respect each other.”
Father Patrick Gomes, Secretary of the CBCB's Commission on Christian Unity and Interfaith Dialogue spoke about the aims and objectives of the training.
"Through this training, we learn about the teachings, practices, and experiences of the church on interfaith dialogue. We need to work together for the common good of the people,” he added.
One of the participants from Sylhet diocese Ronnie Dominic Sarkar said, "I am lucky to participate in this seminar. I also learn about the structure, works, and experience of different religions.”
"When I return, I will build up a good relationship with other religions. Dialogue is essential for people of all faiths to live in peace and harmony. Dialogue brings peace, sharing, and dignity to people,” said Sarkar.
Another participant from the Mymensingh diocese Oli Snal said, "I am happy to participate in this seminar. I thank organizers for giving me a chance to join.”
"By attending this seminar, I came to know the Catholic Church's views on interfaith dialogue, especially the teachings of the Second Vatican Congress on interfaith dialogue,” said Snal.
Snal added, "Hopefully if I get the opportunity in the future, I will contribute to the church in interfaith dialogue and spread the word of Jesus through dialogue with people of other faiths.”
During the seminar, the Second Vatican Council on Dialogue and its subsequent theology, views on the realities of everyday life and education, and activities on dialogue, past, present, and future were discussed.
Besides, the spirituality of inter-religious dialogue, Asian theology and Asian church documents on dialogue, the Christian church's view of other religions, sharing of real-life dialogue, and ancient religion in the light of traditional religion were also dealt with.
All the speakers spoke about the principles of peace and harmony in their religion. - Nikhil Gomes
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