Fr. Rupak Dominic Rozario, OMI
With grateful hearts and praising God, the Missionary Oblates of Bangladesh have celebrated their 50 years of missionary presence, with a Solemn Mass, on Friday, July 21, at De Mazenod Church, Dhaka.
The Eucharistic Celebration was presided by Archbishop Bejoy N. D’Cruze, OMI, the Archbishop of Dhaka, in the presence of Rev. Fr. Luis Ignacio Rois Alonso, OMI, Superior General. Also, the holy event was graced by Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, CSC, Archbishop Emeritus of Dhaka, Archbishop Subrato L. Howlader, CSC, the Archbishop of Chattagram, Bishop Gervas Rozario, the Bishop of Rajshahi, the Provincials from the Oblate Province of Colombo, India, and the Philippines, and fifty-five local and foreign priests. More than one thousand people from the Oblate parishes joined the celebration.
Always close to the people
In his homily, Archbishop Bejoy mentioned that the Oblates in Bangladesh have always been very close to the people, especially to the indigenous people, nourishing their faith, building communities, and helping them live as humans. Also, he remembered all the pioneering missionaries who faithfully dedicated their lives to the humble service of the poor and underprivileged indigenous people in Bangladesh for the last 50 years.
Nurturing the seed of missionary zeal
Speeches by the Oblate Provincials and the Delegation Superior followed the Eucharistic celebration. Their messages resonated with deep gratitude to God for His immense grace that touched many lives of the people whom Oblates have been serving. In his message, the Superior General reminded the Oblates of the words of the Holy Father Pope Francis, “to look at the past with gratitude, live the present with passion and embrace the future with hope.” He also invited the Oblates and the people of the Oblate charismatic family, to “further grow the seed of missionary zeal planted by the first pioneer Oblate missionaries and extend the Kingdom of God and be saints for the good of the Church and the poor.”
To mark the Golden Jubilee of the Oblate presence in Bangladesh, the Oblates officially took up a new parish, St. Eugene’s Catholic Church, Lokhonpur, in the Diocese of Rajshahi, and so, an agreement was signed by and between the Diocese of Rajshahi and the Province of Colombo. In preparation for the celebrations, on Thursday, July 20, six representatives from Oblate parishes took time to share their testimonies and experiences of Oblate missions. Sharing was followed by a time of prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
Golden Jubilee year
The Oblate Delegation of Bangladesh inaugurated their Golden Jubilee year of the Oblate presence in the country on July 29, 2022, in Lokhipur Parish, Moulovibazar. The first Oblates arrived in the country on July 29, 1973. Oblates currently serve at eight parishes in four dioceses in Bangladesh: the Archdiocese of Dhaka, the Archdiocese of Chattagram, the Diocese of Sylhet, and the Diocese of Rajshahi.