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Bangladesh’s Sylhet diocese calls for walking together in faith

Participants of the 11th diocesan pastoral assembly of the Diocese of Sylhet in Bangladesh pose for a souvenir photo at the end of the gathering on September 17, 2022. (Photo supplied)

The Diocese of Sylhet in eastern Bangladesh called for "walking together in Christian faith and quality education" during its 11th diocesan pastoral assembly.

The assembly started with the opening prayer and welcoming speech of Bishop Shorot Francis Gomes of Sylhet.

Gomes said, "That we will discuss with each other how to increase our faith in this year's pastoral assembly."

The September 15-17 event took place at Bishop’s House.

"The church is ours, and the head of this church is Christ. He is the passion, strength, and source of our faith," he added. "We have been trusted, commissioned, chosen, anointed, and pledged to preach and witness to Christ as faithful disciples."

During the pastoral assembly, Father Brian Chanchal Gomes (not related to the bishop) shared, "We need quality teachers educated in life education like the ancient scholars, rather than teachers with certificates and diplomas."

The priest also discussed the current status of Catholic schools, the limitations of teaching, and the steps taken for quality teaching.

Bishop Gomes said, "We want to walk together. Those who are sleeping should be awakened. Let us start our journey together from here. "

This year, the diocese focuses on pastoral services, formation, and education. It is important to conduct catechism classes in every parish, including Punji and Bagan villages.

Small Christian communities are being formed, but perhaps not in the way they should be. So, first, parishes have to get a clear idea of themselves. "Spreading the Word is one of our goals," said the bishop.

"If the life of faith is alive, it will grow. As the tree is connected to the soil, so must the life of faith be connected. Being connected brings fulfillment to the life of faith. This is our journey towards perfection," the prelate added.

"The Christian faith demands of us that we be led by the power of the Holy Spirit. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we can walk through all things strong. "Where faith is not alive, Jesus is wounded and crucified," he said.

Vatican Council insists that the Church be renewed and guided by the Holy Spirit. 

The assembly continued with speeches and panel discussions on the main theme.

There were group discussions to take pastoral plans to parish levels. 

The assembly had a total of 128 participants (bishop, priests, nuns, and Catholics).   

"We must journey deeper in our faith in Christ because our faith has become light. It is our sacred duty to form a beautiful society and family. Christians are called to share the ideals of the Christian faith with people of other faiths," said one of the participants, Rita Costa.

Another participant, Marcus Lamin, said, "The active participation of the participants in the assembly was noteworthy, and pastoral planning for the next year was also according to the sign of the time, and I hope it will be helpful for all the faithful in our diocese."

The diocese was erected in July 2011 with civil districts of Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj, and Moulibazar. It has 19,942 Catholics as of 2022 in seven parishes. -Nikhil Gomes


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