BANGLADESH Some 300 baptisms took place at Easter in the Diocese of Rajshahi
In the north of the country, many tribal catechumens received the sacrament during the rites of Holy Week. “In the past, I loved nature, the sun and the trees,” said one of them, “but now I can speak directly to Jesus. On the other hand, “The life of a Christian is simple”, and Christians “love others”.
Rajshahi (AsiaNews) – More than 300 people, mostly adults, were baptized at Easter in several parishes in the diocese of Rajshahi, in northern Bangladesh, where missionaries, both local and foreign, are active in promoting the Kingdom of God.
Father Arturo Speziale, missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), said AsiaNews that he employed seven catechists, including two women, who prepared the new Catholics for about a year.
“A total of 46 new believers received baptism in the village of Borshapara on Easter Sunday,” he said. “Our catechists have played a vital role in bringing them to Christianity. “
Father Speziale is assistant pastor in Nobai Bottola, a parish in the diocese of Rajshahi. Its seven catechists are from local tribes and have been able to reach local villages, teach the Bible and preach in local languages.
After their passage, nuns and priests visited the villages of the catechumens and conquered their hearts, so that little by little, more and more faithful came closer to Christianity.
Some children of Christian families were also baptized in the same parish at Easter.
Now 80 years old, Father Speziale has worked as a missionary in Bangladesh for 50 years. He said his catechists were following 100 other families who could receive baptism next year.
Father Michael Corraya, pastor of Nobai Bottola, also spoke of his feelings about baptizing people of other faiths.
“I was very happy to see adults receiving baptism from me,” he explained. “These people have freely chosen Christianity. In the past, they worshiped nature and trees; now they understand the importance of Christianity and were eagerly baptized.
The new Christians are of the Santal, Orao and Paharia ethnic groups of the local tribal communities.
Father Swapan Martin Purification, pastor of Bhutahara, Naogaon district, said AsiaNews that 114 adults were baptized in his parish on Easter Eve and Easter Sunday. He confirmed that more than 300 people have been baptized in the Diocese of Rajshahi.
Some new believers spoke to AsiaNews on the reasons that prompted them to welcome Jesus Christ as the Lord.
“In the past, I loved nature, the sun and the trees,” said Subash Hembrom, a catechumen baptized in Borshapara. “Our thakur (Hindu priest) acted on my behalf; now, instead, I can speak directly to Jesus and get an answer in prayer.
He did not know the prayers of his ancient religion before, but catechists have taught him and his family members the Our Father, the Ten Commandments, and other Christian prayers he loves.
Another convert, Anita Akka, said she loves the life of Christians very much. “I saw that the life of a Christian is simple, that they (Christians) love others, teach love and forgiveness. I have learned that only Jesus Christ can give us salvation. So I received the baptism.