07/05/2021, 13.24
BANGLADESH
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Bangladeshi Catholics celebrate the first local priest to take up a Vatican diplomatic post

by Sumon Corraya

Fr Linku Lenard Gomes, 39, will serve as Secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature in Panama starting 1 August. “I will surely use my talents to perform my service in the best possible way,” he told AsiaNews. The Church in Bangladesh is increasingly devoted to the mission. For Bishop Gervas Rozario, after receiving so much, now “the time has come to reciprocate”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis appointed Fr Linku Lenard Gomes, 39, as Secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature in Panama on 1 July.

The clergyman received the decision with a mixture of emotion and amazement. “Although I am not the most eligible, God chose me for his work. I will surely use my talents to perform my service in the best possible way.”

A native of the Diocese of Rajshahi, Fr Linku is the first priest from Bangladesh to join the Vatican diplomatic corps. He is scheduled to take up his post on 1 August.

The priest is grateful to Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi for “encouraging me to pursue higher studies in Canon Law. I shall never stop thanking him.”

Fr Linku was born on 17 November 1981 in Natore, Borni parish, Diocese of Rajshahi, in a deeply devout Catholic family of six sons and two daughters.

He became a priest on 27 December 2013 and is one of 50 priests and nuns from Bangladesh to be engaged in missionary work abroad, a sign of an increasingly missionary vocation of the local Church.

Fr Linku earned a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University on 14 June 2021, but his programme included diplomatic studies as well.

The first Bangladeshi priest to be assigned to a diplomatic post by the Holy See, he is the forerunner of a new form of evangelisation involving the local Church.

Bangladesh has received a lot from the European and American Churches, Bishop Gervas Rozario told AsiaNews, and now “the time has come to reciprocate”.

“Once foreign missionaries came to Bangladesh for pastoral service. Today it is the Church of Bangladesh that makes itself available to foreign Churches,” the prelate said.

This work has reached a point of maturity with Fr Gomes’s appointment to a diplomatic post. Currently, six priests from Rajshahi work abroad and five more are ready to leave for the mission.

In the future, noted the bishop, “we shall train more priests” for this kind of service to the universal Church.

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