First Catholic missionary museum inaugurated in Mymensingh
by Sumon Corraya

The Ama Achik Rosong Museum seeks to preserve the Garo culture and the memory of the missionaries who brought them the Christian faith. The diocese has about 90,000 members and 16 parishes. Young people know little about the original culture and roots. Admission is free and the museum is open to all.

Mymensingh (AsiaNews) – Bangladesh’s first Catholic museum, the Ama Achik Rosong Museum (Proud Garo Mother Museum), was inaugurated last Friday in Mymensingh. The building is located near St Patrick's Cathedral, and is meant to preserve Garo culture and commemorate the contribution made by missionaries to the local Church.

Apurbo Mrong, a member of the museum committee, said that the museum also seeks “to encourage young people to rediscover their culture, language, customs and food”.

The inauguration ceremony followed a prayer and blessing by Bishop Ponen Paul Kubi of Mymensingh, a member of the Order of Holy Cross. Some 300 Garo Catholics were present. The Diocese is home to 90,000 Catholics in 16 parishes.

“In the past, Garos venerated nature,” Apurbo explained. “Then came the Catholic missionaries who started preaching God’s message. Now almost 100 per cent are Christian. We want to remember their contribution with this museum.”

The two-storey museum also has an auditorium named after Fr Eugene Eduard Homrich, a Holy Cross missionary who worked for 60 years in the area. Admission is free and the facility is open to all. Its collections include traditional garments, photos of the missionaries, food and Garo rituals.

The diocese was keen on highlighting Garo culture. “Finally, my desire to have the museum comes true,” said Bishop Kubi. “I am very happy to be able to open it.”

“Due to globalisation, our culture, language and tools have almost completely disappeared,” he lamented. “Two years ago, we began this initiative, so that new generations can be inspired by their traditions and roots.”

To build the museum, the diocese filed an application with the Bangladesh National Museum Authority. Church officials held talks with the Authority’s president and visited several Bangladeshi and foreign museums.

For the young Prodip Rema, “being able to visit the Ama Achik Rosong Museum is a great joy. I learnt many things about our culture and about the missionaries who are legendary around here. I am really grateful to the bishop for this initiative.”