New parish inaugurated in Khonjanpur, Rajshahi, to spread the Gospel among tribal people
The ceremony took place on Wednesday in the presence of Mgr Gervas Rozario. In addition to the church, the parish includes a school and a youth centre. For the new parish priest, "The school is for everyone". Catechist noted that "Many tribal people want to be baptised”.
Joypurhat (AsiaNews) – The diocese of Rajshahi, in northwestern Bangladesh, has a new parish church in Khonjanpur, Joypurhat. The new parish priest is Fr Pawel, a Polish missionary with the Salesians of Don Bosco.
Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr Pawel noted that "where once stood a large space, we built the new church, the school building and the youth centre. Thousands of people will benefit from our service."
The inauguration ceremony took place on Wednesday in the presence of hundreds of Catholics and Mgr Gervas Rozario, the local bishop.
The prelate expressed "joy at having a new parish. We opened another one in the diocese last month. Our episcopal circumscription is getting bigger and bigger and we hope that another one can be born in the future."
According to the bishop, "the new church offers the opportunity to preach God’s message. In the future many non-Christians will be able to welcome Jesus Christ."
The parish priest explained that "the area is inhabited mostly by tribal people, in a place where we want to spread Christian teachings. We thank the Lord for our parish."
The parish school opened its doors on 1st January, Fr Pawel noted. "The school is for everyone because we work with all religions. With our good work we put into practice the values of Jesus Christ."
Local Catholics enthusiastically welcomed the opening of the church. One of them, Babu Ram, is a tribal Santal who has worked locally as a catechist for four years.
"On Wednesday, we listened to the words of our bishop and priests during the Mass,” he said. “We felt blessed by God. We hope to receive deeper spiritual care from our priests."
Speaking about his work as a catechist, he went on to say, "I spend time in the villages with Catholics and I teach them their religion.” But ““We also go among non-Christians”.
Among the latter, “we know that many of them have expressed a desire to be baptised. I believe that in the future we will have many new faithful and increase the number of Catholics in the parish."
Bangladesh is a predominantly Muslim country. Christians represent less than 0.3 per cent of the population, or about 600,000. Of these, 380,000 are Catholics, out of a population of almost 163 million.
Tribal communities offer more opportunities to preach the Gospel. More than 50 ethnic groups live in the same territory. The missionaries work among them to win their hearts for Christ.