During his upcoming apostolic visit to Bangladesh, Pope Francis will ordain 16 priests. The Pope who is visiting Myanmar and Bangladesh, Nov. 27 – Dec. 2, will ordain them on Dec. 1, during an open-air morning Mass at Suharawardy Udyan Park in the capital Dhaka. Some 10,000 people are expected to attend the Mass.
Of the 16 deacons studied at the Holy Spirit Major Seminary, the only Seminary in Bangladesh. Ten of them are diocesan, one is an Oblate of Mary Immaculate (OMI) and 5 are members of the Congregation of Holy Cross (CSC).
One of them, Jashim Murmu of Santal tribal origin from northern DinajpurDiocese, is eagerly looking forward to the day. “The first good news is that Pope Francis is coming to Bangladesh. The second is that he will ordain me a priest, ” he told AsiaNews. Deacon Murmu is proud to be the first priest of his village which is entirely Santal.
Another candidate, Gracy Rozario CSC of the Dhaka Archdiocese said he cannot said he just cannot wait. “For me it is a special blessing to be consecrated by him. For this I give thanks to Almighty God,” he told AsiaNews. Rozario said he is preparing for the day “with prayers, so I can devote myself to being a perfect and holy priest to preach the message of God.”
Cizar Costa, of the diocese of Rajshahi, who also spoke to AsiaNews saying it is an immense source of joy for him knowing Pope Francis will lay his hands on his head to ordain and bless him. The deacon expressed his gratitude to the ecclesiastical authorities of Bangladesh for this opportunity as also to his parents and family for encouraging him to be a priest.
The Holy Spirit Major Seminary currently has 400 candidates to priesthood. Fr. Emmanuel Kanon Rozario, the rector of the seminary, told AsiaNews they are helping prepare the 16 future priests spiritually. “As a final stage of preparation, they will participate in a prayer retreat that will take place from November14 to 20.” According to Fr. Emmanuel, “becoming a priest is just the first step in the ministry of priesthood.” He said they have been adequately prepared and hoped they will be “holy priests for the Catholic Church”.