09/16/2010, 00.00
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Bangladeshi Missionary: the best place to nurture vocations is the family

by William Gomes
Brother Nirmol Francis Gomes, missionary of the Holy Cross, said the genesis of his vocation took place through the example of parents' faith, despite economic difficulties. Recently appointed vice-chancellor of a school in Chittagong, the missionary seeks to convey to young people without family the love and Christian education he experienced during his childhood.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - "Family is the heart source and resource for the development and understanding of  to vocations and the culture of life". So says Brother Nirmol Francis Gomes (pictured), a Bangladeshis missionary of the Holy Cross and vice-rector of St. Placid's High School in Chittagong. Born into a Catholic family in Dhaka, Nirmol spoke to AsiaNews about the genesis of his vocation, which occurred through the example of faith of his parents, and stresses that the he education received in the family is now crucial for his work as a teacher of underprivileged children

"My family was poor - he says – there were seven children, but despite the serious financial condition, our parents, especially my mother, made us recite the rosary every night. For my mother living in poverty was not an obstacle to faith. Every Sunday she took us to mass and at the right time, she helped me to recognize the call of God. We suffered from hunger and lack of clothes, but we had the love our parents. " The missionary recalls in particular his mother's devotion to Our Lady. "In the midst of poverty – he says - my mother saw Mary as an icon of hope for the whole family.

Nirmol stresses that his family was the best place to understand his vocation: "My parents always wanted me to become a priest. But when I told them I wanted to become a monk they accompanied me on my journey and now I am a missionary of the Holy Cross. " Rozen his sister also chose to give her life to God, entering the Sisters of Mary Queen of Apostles (Smra). "With the example of our parents - he adds - the other five children have found their calling, they married and now work and have a good position in society."

Brother Nirmol has worked at St. Placid's High School in Chittagong for about six months, after a period of training in the Philippines. The institute has around 2 thousand students and since his arrival, the missionary has tried to transmit to them the example and love he received during his childhood. Together with a team of Catholic teachers, he helps rich and poor children to face problems, be they economic, social or spiritual. The Institute offers free courses for young people who have economic problems and support groups, mainly for young people from wealthy families who became involved with drugs.

"The children - he says - are crucial to the survival of the family. When they grow parents begin to ask questions about what is best for them, they try to convey their interests, keeping the family together. Unfortunately, it does not always happen this way. " "Often – he adds - families forget their children and fail to give them a good example for life. As a teacher I try to convey to these children the teachings of the Gospel through my experience. "

"In our school - stresses – we are very worried about the bad role models that young people have nowadays and we recognize the crucial role played by our teachers”. “I have no children – he concludes - but I consider my students my children."

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