Fr Dominic: from Bangladesh to Japan, a missionary for PIME
A vocation born looking at the words and works of the priests of the institute. The ordination presided by the Archbishop of Milan and the destination of the Land of the Rising Sun. 800 people present t the thanksgiving Mass in his home diocese, including 150 Muslims: 'In my village,' he says, 'we live in friendship and fraternal relations.
Meherpur (AsiaNews) - A vocation to the priesthood that began at a young age when he looked at the witness of the PIME missionaries, observing their lifestyle and the world in which they proclaimed the Gospel not only with words, but above all with gestures and works of charity.
From here the decision to enter the seminary despite being an only son, to complete a period of study in Italy, and to receive ordination on 22 July 2021 at the hands of the Archbishop of Milan, Monsignor Mario Delpini. And, after celebrating the Mass of Thanksgiving on 14 January and receiving the cross (the symbol of the mandate for the mission), he is preparing to leave for Japan at the end of February.
This is the story of Fr Dominic Richard Dafader, originally from the Bhabarpara community in Meherpur, a district in south-west Bangladesh, who is preparing to leave for Japan. Here in recent days, with his bishop Mgr James Romen Boiragi, of the diocese of Khulna, he celebrated a service together with friends (including Muslims) and family members and now - after a short period of rest - he is waiting to reach the Land of the Rising Sun.
The 31-year-old Fr Dominic told AsiaNews about the path that inspired his vocation and that will take him to a country so different from his native one, following in the footsteps of the missionaries of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME). From 2007 to 2012," he recalls, "I studied in a college run by PIME in Dhaka. During those years I was able to discover the good and holy lifestyle of the missionaries. I visited the centres where they worked. Their spirit exerted a strong attraction on me".
In 2013, he entered the seminary in Dhaka, took a course in philosophy at the Major Seminary of the Holy Spirit in the capital and, in 2016, left for Italy for further studies and the deepening of PIME's spirituality. I understood better," he says, "their way of being missionaries. [From this experience] I got more inspiration".
Fr. Dominic is the only son in a family made up of an older sister, a married teacher, and a younger sister, still unmarried, who works as a nurse in a government hospital. His childhood memories include that of his father who, in order to earn money to support the family, "used to push three-wheeled rickshaws" used to transport people. "Then,' he continues, 'my parents decided to buy a piece of land and become farmers. Culturally speaking, it is difficult and rare in my country to give the only male child the opportunity to devote himself to religious activity. But my parents gave me complete freedom", giving me the chance to be a priest and a missionary, and "they were a source of great inspiration for me".
At the mass for the passing on of the crucifix, 800 people were present, including 150 Muslims. In our village," he explained, "Christians and Muslims live in friendship and fraternal relations. The bishop, my family, the parishioners and even the Muslims are excited and wished me well" for the future mission in Japan where, for the first six months, he will dedicate himself to studying the language. "In every gesture," he concludes, "I want to be a witness to Christ in my life".