Conversion starts with missionary, says book of PIME missionary
The 'Reflections of a Missionary, 50 years on from the Council' gives a personal account of authors experiences in Bangladesh, a Muslim country, and dozens of other countries with other religions.
Father Franco Cagnasso, a PIME missionary in the majority Muslim country of Bangladesh, has written a book ‘Gospel of Dialogue’ recounting his experiencesas "son of the Second Vatican Council active in the field."
The documents of the Second Vatican Council gave an authoritative push to inter-religious dialogue. The shortest and the most revolutionary among the 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate, overturned the attitude of the Christian people and missionaries in their dealings with non-Christian religions.
The subtitle of Cagnasso’s book – Reflections of a Missionary, 50 years on from the Council – clarifies the content better. The book gives an interesting personal account of his experiences in Bangladesh, a Muslim country, and dozens of other countries with other religions.
Father Cagnasso, who studied Arabic, is an expert on Islamand has been a missionary in Bangladesh for over 10 years. He was at the helm of PIME for 18 years – from 1983 to 2001, first as vicar general and then superior.
One of the convictions that he has reached through the years is that the missionary must desire conversion, first of all his own, and then seek to help others on the way to conversion. In this context, if a Muslim sincerely desires to become a Christian, he is to be accepted joyfully, giving thanks to God who moved his heart. At the same time, those who do not become Christian are to be accepted and loved in a spirit of dialogue.
Father Franco offers his reflections and brings his experience as a missionary who believes in dialogue. Based on his dialogues with Bengalis, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus,the book is a witness to the mission revolutionized by the Nostra Aetate.
Cagnasso has described many episodes in his book that open the heart and mind to understanding the "wonders of the Holy Spirit", always in action in all men and all peoples.
Father Franco was the spiritual father and teacher of theology at the major seminary in every diocese of Bangladesh and maintained cordial ties with Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. His mission has worked with the poor and among immigrants to Dhaka from rest of the country.