The Third Order Regular of St Francis has been present in Bangladesh for 25 years. In Dinajpur a hostel hosts 50 mostly non-Christian children. In Dhaka the friars help domestic migrants. “We follow the charism of Saint Francis,” said Br Francis. “People do not expect priests to be rich, but to be faithful,” he added.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) – People “expect sincerity on our part, that we show them an upright life and dedicate time to them. I also noticed that when I prepare the sermon for Mass well, they appreciate it,” said 53-year-old Francis Marandy, superior of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of Assisi in Bangladesh, speaking to AsiaNews.
Son of catechists, as a child Br Francis believed that only “foreign and white-skinned missionaries could be priests. Until I met some nuns who told me I could be one too.”
Originally from Pathorghata, a parish in the Diocese of Dinajpur, the friar was born into a tribal Catholic family. As a child, he dreamt of becoming a teacher, until he met the nuns, who changed his life.
“I was ordained in 2001,” he explained. “My father encouraged me to be a priest. When I became one, he was really happy.”
“I love consecrated life because I can take care of people spiritually, and I can help them earn Heaven,” he said about his vocation.
“I am happy in my religious life. As a consecrated person, my job is to be holy and make others so. Thus, we can create a world in accordance with God’s love.”
Franciscan friars have been present in Bangladesh for 25 years, and currently have eight priests, a brother and 19 seminarians.
“In the past, we sent a confrere to the Philippines as a missionary,” noted Br Francis. “We hope to send more people in the future.”
The friars “are witnesses preaching the Good News, being kind and doing good work. We follow the charism of Saint Francis in preaching the Gospel and leading a simple life.
“The three vows of priestly life are celibacy, poverty and obedience. People do not expect priests to be rich, but to be faithful. We must show our holy life.”
In Dinajpur, “we have a hostel with 50 children, most of whom are non-Christians. Every year some children receive Christ on Easter day. In Dhaka we spiritually assist domestic migrants.”
The relationship with the laity is very important to Nr Francis. “We need support, prayer and collaboration on their part. Family and religious life are both important. We priests would not exist and the Church would have problems if families [did not play their role.] How would we have nuns and priests without families?”