ASIA/BANGLADESH – Men of service and proclamation of the Gospel: 13 new deacons for the Church, three of them tribal

Mymensingh – The 13 new deacons who enrich and give hope to the Catholic Church of Bangladesh will be men dedicated to ecclesial and pastoral service and to proclaiming the Gospel, especially to the poorest. In two distinct celebrations – 10 of them were ordained in Holy Spirit Major Seminary in Dhaka at the end of May; another 3 at the end of April in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican – Bishops, priests, religious and Bangladeshis faithful rejoiced over the journey of these young people who, hopefully, in 2022 will become priests to give their full and generous contribution to the mission of the Church in Bangladesh.
This contribution, already now, as deacons, is precious for the dioceses of Dhaka, Mymensingh, Rajshahi, where they are called to work and carry out pastoral service.
Among them, seven come from the diocese of Mymensingh and are Garo tribals. Simon Hacha, an elderly priest of Mymensingh, also a Garo, tells Fides: “In our Garo community, the faith of Catholics is strong and rooted. Parents send their children to school and thank God if they feel the vocational call and undertake the journey to become priests or consecrated persons”.
The local Church organizes fields of research and vocational discernment every year, inviting children and young people. Several religious congregations present their history and activities and visit families. “When the children manifest a desire, we accompany them in their schooling and take care of them. Many of them listen to God’s call and begin to work in the Lord’s vineyard, for the Kingdom of God”.
Fr. Hacha who was present in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican when, on April 30, two Garo seminarians became deacons, notes to Fides: “Parents are happy if their children enter religious life. They set an example of faith in daily life, in the family. The village leaders also play an important role, encouraging and not considering the religious vocation in a hostile way”.
Deacon Samuel Pathang, from the parish of Biroidakuni in the diocese of Mymensingh, the firstborn in a family with four children, tells Fides: “My parents encouraged me to choose religious life. They accompanied me to Sunday mass and made me participate in the other activities of the Church. They inspired me to undertake a journey of discernment and to enter the Seminary”. Samuel also reports that “seeing the holy life of nuns and priests attracted me to religious life in this modern era”. “The priests made home visits to our village. I saw their holy and simple life. Our Bishop at the time, Francis Gomez led a very simple life. He came to our house and talked to us. His lifestyle and his testimony of faith helped me to become a religious”. Bangladesh is a country that has 165 million people, but there are 800,000 Christians, half of them Catholics and half Protestants. The Christian announcement often passes through a witness of a holy life and good works. A good number of priests and nuns offer missionary service abroad.

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