Four new priests for the Diocese of Dinajpur
The new priests, who belong to the Oraon tribal community, stressed the importance of the presence of PIME missionaries for their vocation. The ordination, led by Bishop Sebastian Tudu, took place last Friday at the Cathedral of St Francis Xavier.
Dinajpur (AsiaNews) – Four deacons were ordained priests Friday in the Diocese of Dinajpur: Ratan Joseph Murmu, Palash Joseph Khalko, Michael Murmu, and Samuel Soren.
Bishop Sebastian Tudu presided over the ordination ceremony at the Cathedral Church of St Francis Xavier. While the first three are diocesan priests, Soren belongs to the Third Order Regular of St Francis of Assisi. All of them come from the Oraon tribal community.
About a thousand people were present to show their support for the new priests, who said they had matured their priestly vocation thanks to PIME missionaries, who have been present in the diocese for some time.
“In my childhood, PIME fathers and nuns taught us catechism. Their lifestyle has always attracted me to give my life to preach God's message,” said Joseph Khalko, 31, from the parish of Khalisa, speaking to AsiaNews.
His grandfather, Joel Khalko, was a catechist and his grandfather's father had been baptised by PIME priests.
"I was born into a devout and practising Catholic family. I lost my father when I was eight years old, and my mother always encouraged me to be a priest,” Fr Khalko explained.
“In my entire life I have only missed Mass when I was sick," he added, expressing gratitude to Fr Livio Prete (now in Italy), who encouraged him to take the path of the priesthood when he was in Dinajpur.
Fr Ratan Joseph Murmu, originally from the parish of Baldipukur, also expressed the desire to share God's message with those who do not know Jesus Christ.
He thanked various people, including PIME nuns and priests, local clergy and relatives for their support, and then emphasised his commitment to passing on the Gospel teachings to transform people's lives.
Samuel Soren, originally from the Diocese of Rajshahi, will serve in the Diocese of Dinajpur as priests of the Third Order Regular are not present in Rajshahi.
Bishop Sebastian Tudu congratulated the newly ordained priests, and urged them to fulfil their responsibilities diligently, stressing the importance of their role and noting that God chooses His preachers from among the weak and marginalised to make them instruments of His work.
Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country with a population of 170 million, is home to a Christian minority , which makes up 0. 3 per cent of the population, half of them Catholic.
The presence of foreign missionaries in the past paved the way for the growth of the local Church, with an increasing number of vocations, allowing them to continue to spread the Gospel.