News Contributor: Inmanuel Chayan Biswas, Project In-Charge Education Program for Disadvantage Children, Caritas Chittagong
“I bring to you greetings and I bring to you also a message of hope”- said the president of Caritas Internationalis, His Eminence Cardinal Luis A. Tagle in the Rohingya refugee Camp, where more than 0.9 million refugees have been living for nearly one and half years. On Monday, 3rd November 2018, His Eminence Cardinal Tagle visited the world’s largest refugee camp together with the Archbishop of the Chittagong Catholic Archdiocese, His Excellency, Archbishop Moses M. Costa, CSC; the president of Caritas Bangladesh, His Grace Bishop Gervas Rozario; the Executive Director of Caritas Bangladesh, Mr. Francis Atul Sarker; the Regional Director of Caritas Chattogram, Mr. James Gomes and other high officials of Caritas Bangladesh.
Cardinal Tagle visited Caritas Bangladesh’s Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) distribution center, warehouse, midterm shelter model houses, site improvement activities and one of the six Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) run by Caritas. He also spent more than half an hour with a Rohingya family listening to their sufferings and sorrows and prayed for them. Mentioning His Holiness Pope Francis, he said that, “I came here first to help these poor people celebrate the memory of the visit of Pope Francis here in Bangladesh and Myanmar a year ago. And to bring them the assurance of his nearness to all the suffering people of the world.” After visiting the camp area he stated that “What I see here right now is human suffering but I see also the hope that the Caritas confederation could bring to people. Our witness of love and concern for any person no matter who that person is, for as long as they need solidarity, love, and compassion, Caritas will be there.” For encouraging all the people who are serving the refugees, he said, “Jesus, who came poor, who became a refugee himself but who never stopped loving. And I hope that this message coming from this camp would encourage all of us never to get tired of loving.” While talking the Executive Director of Caritas Bangladesh, Mr. Francis Atul Sarker told us, “Today we are really happy that Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the president of Caritas Internationalis which has 164 member organizations, is here to show solidarity with the refugee people and we also are very glad to have the second highest official from the Vatican here after the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis. So, it’s a historic moment for all of us especially Caritas Family that his presence gives us inspiration and encouragement. And we offer our services witnessing the love of people and the love of the Church for the people in need.” After completing his visit Cardinal Tagle expressed his joy to Caritas members saying, “I am proud of the way Caritas Bangladesh performed their duties in the huge refugee crisis. I will pray and remind you always.” On the way back to Dhaka he met with the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), Mr. Mohammed Abul Kalam, at his office in Cox’s Bazar. His Eminence showed his gratitude and thanked the Bangladesh Government for their openness and kind heart towards the refugees. He added that the way the government of Bangladesh has helped and supported the refugees and provides relief to them is admirable. At the end of his visit, His Eminence Cardinal Luis A. Tagle told reporters that to be forcibly displaced from Myanmar and taking shelter in Bangladesh constitutes an international refugee crisis. It is commendable that the people of Bangladesh have shown such generosity since the beginning of this crisis.