Fr. Ajit Victor COSTA, the Delegation Superior of Bangladesh, recently paid a visit to a rural village called Satchala, where the Oblates have served for the last ten years. Here he shares his rich experience among the poor.
After 40 minutes of ride by Van (Tricycle-powered by Battery) from St. Paul’s Church, in Rajshahi Diocese, Frs. Ranjit COSTA, (Parish Priest) Rocky COSTA (Asst. Pastor), 2 Salesian Nuns, several children from hostel and I arrived in Satshala. On our arrival at the village, children, adolescents, young, elderly men and women were overjoyed!
Oblates begun the “Evangelizing Mission” in this parish on January 25, 2009, at the invitation of Late Rt. Rev. Paulinus Costa. At the beginning there were only seven Catholic villages altogether and they belonged to Santal and Uroan indigenous groups. After discernment and being faithful to the Oblate Charism, Oblates chose this challenging and promising area of evangelization. Traditionally, these indigenous people are religious-minded by their very nature and are quite open to receive the Christian Faith. Over the years, due to committed and systematic evangelization by us, now, the total number of Catholic villages have reached to 31. Thanks to God, almost every year, 40 to 50 people receive the “Sacrament of Baptism” after a year-long preparation and Catechism classes.
On the Passion Sunday this year, Frs. Ranjit Costa and Rocky Costa, administered the Sacrament of Baptism to 44 people (children and adults) at Satshala. May 26, 2019, was a day of celebration and joy for them. St. Peter’s Catholic Church, (the “Hut-Church” as we call it) was blessed and inaugurated by me, assisted by Frs. Ranjit and Rocky, in the presence of the faithful. A friend of mine was happy and kind enough to generously share a part from his earnings for this project. The church was built completely with the help of the voluntary labour by all the villagers, including the children.
As a student of Theology and whilst pursuing my licentiate at Gregorian University in Rome, numerous times and occasions, I visited St. Peter’s Basilica. My heart would always be thrilled in seeing the magnificent Basilica and the artistic eye-catching beauty. After blessing and inauguration of St. Peter’s Church (Hut-Church) in Satshala, whilst offering the first Mass with the people, my heart was engulfed in sensing the simple and deep faith of these people. During homily, I let them share their experience. All, especially the children, enthusiastically exclaimed, “We also helped our elders by giving our small hands.” St. Peter’s Church in Sathshala has been touched by the angelic fingers of children though it does not claim to have the same grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.