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Vassula visits Bangladesh
February 18 - 20, 2001
Vassula and Bishop Zakarian arrived at noon on Sunday, February 18. Since it was Sunday, they were able to attend the parish Mass that evening in Banani, the very same parish church where Vassula came when she first began receiving the messages in 1985. In fact, Bangladesh was included in the list of countries at the special request of Bishop Zakarian, who had wanted to see the places where True Life in God began.
During the Mass, Vassula and the Bishop were seated in the sanctuary where all could easily see the people whose arrival we had been anticipating for some weeks. A message from book seven, a call to turn from sin, was selected by Vassula to be shared with all. It was highly appropriate given the approach of the Lenten season.
After Mass, Vassula and the Bishop had to leave immediately for a short visit with the Archbishop of Dhaka who greeted them warmly and conversed with them. Vassula gave him a book that listed (as on the website) her many foreign visits over these last few years.
On February 19 we visited the Armenian Church in old Dhaka. The caretaker and his wife were thrilled and the Bishop was delighted with the well-maintained little church. He blessed the graveyard as well as the house where we stopped for tea. Almost all of the Armenians have emmigrated from Bangladesh, so there is only a handful left.
>From there we went to the small Greek mausoleum where the Bishop blessed the graves, no doubt for the first time in many decades. It now is part of the Dhaka University campus.
In the evening we went to the school grounds of Bottomley Home. This venue required the permission of our Catholic Archbishop, and it was graciously granted. Due to the political turmoil in the country, many were deterred from traveling from the surounding rural villages, but there were about 5,000 present, including many non-Christians. Priests and ministers had been requested to invite their faithful. Besides advertising in the newspaper, we also printed up posters, gave out flyers, and erected several banners. Books and tapes were also on sale that night. So far in Bangladesh about 2000 prayerbooks and 5000 larger volumes have been sold (which is more than one for every 100 Christians). Thus, the messages have reached many homes.
Among the crowd there were priests, sisters and seminarians. There was even a person who had been cured of a painful disease the last time that Vassula spoke here (this was her fourth visit).
The next day Vassula visited the Beth Miriam, which began operating in December of 1999. The actual operation of Beth Miriam is supervised by Duleep and Caterina Gunesekere. In 1999 Vassula had requested us to take this step. Beth Miriam is possible due to the generosity of foreign benefactors since our own resources are insufficient. Forty persons are fed there daily. Vassula had a brief meeting with some of the members of the prayer group who were also present that day. In the evening, Bishop Zakarian went to bless some Armenian graves in the old Portuguese church in Dhaka.
In this visit, all the details of hospitality for Vassula and the Bishop were taken care of by the Duleep and Caterina. As a group, the rest of us concentrated on preparing for the big meeting at Bottomley home.
Those of us here in Bangladesh are deeply greatful to Vassula and the Bishop for including us on this visit. We are also greatful to foreign friends whose generosity makes the printing of the books possible as well as hosting Vassula's welcome visits.