The Jesuits started their first school in Bangladesh.
St. Xavier's International School in Kuchilabari in the district of Gazipur, near Dhaka, the first Jesuit school in Bangladesh, has just opened its doors and started teaching activities for the new school year with 34 children, but it can host up to 600.
"After the postponement due to the pandemic, we were able to open it and start. In recent years, we realized that in the territories of the parish of Motbari, there was no English junior school despite the great demand," Jesuit Father Probash Pius Rozario, the headmaster of St. Xavier's International School, said.
The slogan of the school is "One fire kindles other fires."
"We want to accompany the children in their growth so that they become good citizens and patriots. The intent is not only to educate the mind but also to educate the heart," he adds.
The Oblate Archbishop Bejoy N. D'Cruze of Dhaka, who attended the inauguration of the school, said, "In our country, efforts must be made to improve the education sector. The Church thus offers the witness of doing good to society. In our schools, we want to make students authentic human beings. Our commitment is certainly not a way to make a profit."
Archbishop Bejoy, who is also president of the Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh, said, "students will receive the best education possible," and he told the school teachers, "In addition to academic education, you will also offer moral education and human and Christian values, training men and women who will then contribute to the nation, as has happened for political figures today in the government."
Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, President of Parliament, and Dipu Moni, Minister of Education, are former students of the Holy Cross School, a Catholic school based in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
Local Catholics thank the Society of Jesus for founding this school.
"We felt the need for a good educational institution in our area. With the establishment and opening of St. Xavier's International School, God has heard our prayers. Education is important for each person's path of growth. This school will satisfy the needs of the territory and will be open to children of all faiths," Suren Gomes, a resident of the parish of Mathbari in Gazipur, told Agenzia Fides.
Gomes, a teacher in a state school, appreciates the educational service of the Jesuits.
"Throughout the world, the Jesuits carry out their ministry and apostolate in education. We are grateful to God that this school is God's blessing for us. We hope that our children and the next generation will receive a quality education from it," he says.
The presence of Jesuits in Bangladesh is as old as the presence of Christianity in the country since they were the first missionaries who landed in the Bay of Bengal in the 16th century (between present-day India and Bangladesh).
Later, the religious had to leave that area and only returned in 1994 at the invitation of the Bishops of Bangladesh.
They are currently present in three communities. From Bangladesh, 23 young natives have joined the Society of Jesus and are now active in various ministries of a spiritual and cultural nature, youth ministry, and refugee services.
In Bangladesh, the Catholic Church (a community of about 400,000 baptized out of a population of 165 million, 90% Muslim) runs a university, 13 colleges, over 200 high schools, and 500 institutes, including primary schools and technical and vocational schools. - Agenzia Fides
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