Report on the Press Conference held on August 28, 2017

The official announcement of the visit of the Holy Father to Bangladesh was made public at a Press Conference on August 28, 2017 at 2 PM at the Archbishop’s House. This announcement was simultaneously made from the Vatican, Myanmar and Bangladesh. H. Em. Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario CSC, Most Rev. George Kocherry, Bishop Shorot Francis Gomes, Msgr. Luca Marabese, Members of the Executive and Media Committee were present. A significant number (around 60) of journalists from the print and electronic media were present on this auspicious occasion.

On behalf of the Media Committee, Fr. Kamal A. Corraya welcomed all at the Press Conference and introduced the Cardinal, the Papal Nuncio, Bishop Shorot as Chief Coordinator and Msgr. Luca Marabese as Secretary of the Nunciature. In the beginning the Papal Nuncio, Most Rev. George Kocherry read out the Press Release received from the Vatican. The Nuncio said “Welcoming the invitation of the respective heads of state/government and bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Visit to Myanmar from 27 to 30 November, visiting the cities of Yangon and Nay Pye Taw, and to Bangladesh from 30 November to 2 December 2017, visiting the city of Dhaka. The detailed program for the Visit will be published shortly.”

After the Press Release, H. Em. Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario CSC read out a written speech on the historic visit of the Holy Father to Bangladesh which has two objectives: As head of state the Holy Father’s visit is a state visit to Bangladesh and secondly as head of the Catholic Church, his visit is a pastoral one to the Christians. Then the Cardinal explained the Pope and the Vatican, visit of two other Popes to Bangladesh in 1970 and 1986, preparation for the visit of the Papal Visit, Motto of the Visit: Harmony and Peace. Finally the Cardinal presented the probable programs/events of the Papal Visit without mentioning the venues. The program/events include reception and see off of the Holy Father at the airport. Placing flower wreath at the National Monument, Homage to the Father of the Nation at Bangabandu Museum at Dhanmondi, meeting with the President of Bangladesh at Bangabhabon and the dignitaries. Meeting with the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, solemn air Mass where 16 deacons will be ordained priests, meeting with the local Bishops, visiting people who need special care, meeting with the priests and religious and Major Seminarians. The program also includes a Civic Gathering (inter religious and ecumenical and representatives of the government officials and civil society) and Youth Gathering.

The Cardinal, the Papal Nuncio and Bishop Shorot unveiled the Motto of the visit of the Holy Father to Bangladesh which is Harmony and Peace. The new website prepared on the auspicious occasion of the visit of the Pope was also launched.

Then the journalists asked questions on the visit of the Holy Father to Myanmar and Bangladesh. Questions were mostly based on the Rohyanga issue.

Finally Bishop Shorot thanked the journalists and the organizers of the Press Conference and sought cooperation from all in the future for the fruitful visit of the Holy Father to Bangladesh.