10/22/2019, 14.26
BANGLADESH
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Half of the villagers receive baptism in Kointail

by Sumon Corraya

The village is part of the Bhutahara parish, which is led by a PIME missionary. For local priest, “to win the hearts of the population, we teach the Bible; we live, pray and eat together.” Local woman says: “From this moment we will preach Jesus, instead of so many gods and goddesses.”

Naogaon (AsiaNews) – The residents of Kointail chose to be baptized in Christ in a solemn ceremony held on Sunday, World Mission Day, marking the peak of the Extraordinary Missionary Month organised by the local Church.

In total 67 people, including six infants, have become Christian, the adults making a conscious choice, in Kointail, a village in Bhutahara parish, Naogaon, a district that falls under Diocese of Rajshahi. The parish is led by Fr Emilio Spinelli, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), together with Fr Swapan Martin Purification, assistant priest.

“We have been preparing the village for 17 years,” said Fr Swapan speaking to AsiaNews. “In the beginning there was only one baptised family. Later we priests, nuns and catechists came to deliver the Christian message. Gradually we won the hearts of people, until last Sunday when 12 families, half of the village, welcomed Jesus Christ as their Lord."

Fr Swapan notes that to "win the hearts of the population, we teach the Bible, we live, pray and eat together. I'm really happy to have baptised these people. As a baptised person, my responsibility is to preach the message of Jesus in the world, to every creature."

PIME missionaries have done fundamental work to evangelise the area, he explained. Today Bhutahara parish covers 40 villages and has some 4,000 members. The chapel, made of tin and earth, is in Kointail some 22 kilometres away.

The priest reports that "another 20 families have told us that they would like to be baptised in the future".

Phillip Mardy, 18, is an ethnic Santhal. He received the sacrament last Sunday. “In the past we had no particular god,” he explained. “We loved trees, the sun and other things. By receiving baptism, we are happy to become God's people. Priests and nuns love us and for us it is as if Jesus himself loved us!"

Balashori Hembrom, 55, is a full of joy. “Today we are really happy. From this moment we will preach Jesus, instead of so many gods and goddesses,” she said.

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