Fr. Ajit Victor Costa, OMI (Delegation Superior)
January 8, 2020
De Mazenod Church, Nayanagar (Baridhara), Dhaka, to a certain extent, can be identified as a multi-faceted compound! Four units at this compound shine forth its uniqueness and beauty:
- De Mazenod Scholasticate,
- De Mazenod Church,
- St. Eugene’s School, and
- De Mazenod Health Centre.
Bearing the Founder’s name, these units have been witnessing the Charism of Mazenod, “Evangelizing to the new faces of the poor.” Oblates came to Bangladesh in 1973. Since then, they have been tirelessly engaged in the evangelizing mission among indigenous people, tea-estate people, and internal-migrants in four dioceses in Bangladesh.
In 1980, Oblates, bought a tiny piece of land at Nayanagar, in the midst of squatters. It was a humbling and a daring venture. Land was very low-lying, even the surroundings therefore, almost every rainy season, inhabitants would suffer enormously from flooding. Fortunately, the De Mazenod compound was on higher ground. Several times, during massive flood, the compound provided shelter for the flood victims. All people,whether they were Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists, were accommodated. When even more flood victims arrived, they were allowed to use the Church and verandas of the Scholasticate and OMI Fathers’ Residence.
Seeing the miserable health conditions of children, mothers and the poorest of the poor among the squatters, almost all of whom are internal-migrants to Dhaka City, the Oblate Fathers invited the Sisters of Mother Teresa (MC), to provide health service. Once a week, two sisters would come from Holy Rosary Church, Tejgaon, to provide health care service at De Mazenod compound. After several years of their service, Prado Sisters, a missionary congregation from France, rented a house, close by De Mazenod Church and continued the health service many years. After their departure, the Blue Sisters, came and continued the health service from a rented house. They continue this noble ministry today.
In 2013, after 32 years of struggle, the Oblates were able to settle land issues regarding De Mazenod Church and began constructing four concrete buildings or complexes. Some good-hearted mission partners of Oblates shared their sacrificial and generous gifts for these constructions. Previously, De Mazenod Church, Scholasticate and the Oblate House were made of brick-soling-cum-tin-roof. Blue sisters had to stop their health care service during the construction of complexes. From 2019, they have resumed their health care service. Twice a month, Saturday, Sr. Emilia, Sr. Rita and Sr. Agnes avail themselves at the Health Centre. Once again the children, the poorest of the poor and the underprivileged, get the healing touch from sisters!