#ShortNews: In Bangladesh town, 5 new baptisms, with lives at risk

In the Archdiocese of Dhaka, Catholics welcomed into their community five converts who were baptised on Easter night at the church in Utholi (pictured), Manikganj district.”I am very happy, because from now I can pray to the true God, who died for us on the cross,” a 23-year-old woman said. Like the others who were baptised, she has had to overcome many obstacles to become a Christian and now risks being killed by radical Muslims.

Still, many dangers hang over converts in Utholi. “Last November, we baptised 12 former Muslims. Since then they have received death threats. Some of the parishioners come to church wearing a burqa, so as to confound Islamic fundamentalists.”

A young man who was baptised recently was the latest victim of violence. “Three masked individuals attacked him on his way home from the church. He was beaten and had to be hospitalised. Later he found shelter for a month in the parish building. He has put his life at risk by changing religion.”

The priest notes that the Catholic community has relations with local imams and Islamic leaders. However, some radical Muslim groups do not tolerate the presence of Christians. Father Thomas has called on everyone to pray for them.

Source: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Utholi:-five-new-baptisms,-with-lives-at-risk-46836.html

#ShortNews: In Bangladesh, Easter celebrated as national holiday for first time in 30 years

In Bangladesh, where Sunday is not a holiday, Easter will be celebrated as a holiday for the first time in 30 years.

This was largely the effort of Gloria Jharna Sarker, the first Catholic woman parliamentarian chosen in the last elections who fought to have the rights of the Christian community recognized at the national level, reports AsiaNews.

On Easter Sunday, April 21, all schools in the country will remain closed. Welcoming the good news, local Christians say it is a positive sign of good relations between religions.

A Dhaka merchant explained to AsiaNews that since independence gained in 1971, Sunday was a holiday, including Easter Sunday. However, Sunday ceased to be a holiday since the mid-1980s, when former president Hussain Muhammad Ershad introduced the Islamic tradition making Friday the weekly holiday. “In this way, the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ was excluded from the nationally recognized festivities ”.

It is not known whether this will happen in the years to come but this year Christians have welcomed it with joy.

Full article; https://www.vaticannews.va/en/world/news/2019-04/bangladesh-easter-holiday.html

#ShortNews: Decades of neglect threatened Notre-Dame, well before it burned

Last Monday, Notre Dame’s forest caught fire, incinerating the central spire and most of the cathedral’s roof in a disaster that dismayed the world. Notre Dame, with its limestone facade and stained-glass rose windows, was a resplendent jewel of medieval architecture to most who saw it. On closer inspection, according to church officials, contractors and donors, the cathedral was deteriorating from decades of neglect.

“For sure if the cathedral had been maintained regularly, with a higher level of funding, we would have avoided this,” said Michel Picaud, senior adviser to The Friends of Notre Dame. “The more you wait, the more risks you have.”

The flying buttresses represented the greatest structural risk, according to fundraisers. Church officials wanted to tackle the spire first. “The spire was the most urgent thing,” said Mr. Finot, the spokesman. “It’s made of lead, and the lead was disappearing.”

The spire presented unique challenges. Scaffolding needed first to reach the cathedral’s roof, 50 meters off the ground, and then rise another 50 meters to the top of the spire, encircling the ornate structure without touching it.

On April 15, a dozen workers from Le Bras Freres were working on the scaffolding, according to Mr. Eskenazi. The last one on the site left at 5:50 p.m., turning off the electricity, locking the door and giving the key to a church official in charge of the building, Mr. Eskenazi said. About half an hour later, the first fire alarm went off.

Read full article; https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/decades-of-neglect-threatened-notre-dame-well-before-it-burned/ar-BBW5bxS