The parish was founded by Msgr. Giovanni Battista Anselmo in 1922. Only the tribal Santorum and Hindus lived in the area, who had never heard the Word of God. The church created three more parishes; runs a primary school and a hostel for boys and girls.
Chapai Nawabgonj (AsiaNews) - St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Rohanpur, Northwest Bangladesh, celebrated the centenary of its founding. The celebration took place on 22 September, in the presence of more than 1000 local faithful and Msgr. Gervas Rozario, bishop of Rajshahi, under whose diocese the parish falls. The anniversary is of particular importance for Pime missionaries (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) because it was one of them, Fr. Giovanni Battista Anselmo, later bishop of Dinajpur, who founded the church where no one had ever heard the message of Christ.
Paying homage to the missionary, Msgr. Rozario said, “Pime priest Fr. Anselm followed the great task given by Jesus, who told his disciples: 'Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost' [Matthew 28:19]. He left his country, family, friends, to plant seeds of the Gospel in Eastern Pakistan, now Bangladesh. I thank him and other priests who have made a great contribution to this parish and have created other three Catholic churches. "
Fr. Anselmo was born in Arenzano, Italy, in 1880. He decided to follow his missionary vocation, eventually coming to Bengal in 1912. In 1922 he founded the church of St. Joseph, well knowing that the area was inhabited only by Hindus and santal tribals who had never heard the Word of God. But the missionary wanted to encourage them to worship Jesus Christ rather than a multitude of gods.
Father Bablu Corraya, current parish priest at Rohanpur, reports that "after seven years of intense preaching, 30 Santal tribal received baptism." The Church was born, understood as a Christian community. Since then, the parish has created seven priests, 14 sisters, and many lay people who have contributed vitally to the development of the country's society and institutions.
In 100 years, for at least 71 years the parish was led by a PIME priest. Three other churches sprung from the first nucleus of the faithful: Bhutahara, Katadanga and Mundumala.
The contribution of the missionaries of Pime is also recognized by faithful of different confessions. Parliamentarian Gulam Mustofa Biswas, of the Muslim religion, states: "St. Joseph's parish has played an important role in education and health care. It runs a primary school, a college for boys and girls. Thousands of people have received education and medical care from the dispensary. "
In 1928 p. Anselmo became bishop of Dinajpur, a post ge held until 1947. He died on February 19, 1953. His remains lie in the Rohanpur church, according to his last will.