The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerful missionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mission Bangladesh

Bangladesh. A people, desperately poor, with more than a third of the population living on less than $1 a day. A people, many in the low-lying country vulnerable to flooding and cyclones, fearful that global climate change could cause a major environmental disaster in their homeland.

The Church in Bangladesh – young and a small minority, less than one percent of the population. Among the 160 million people about 90 percent are Muslims, eight percent Hindu, and the rest belonging to other religions, including Buddhism and Christianity. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Catholic Directory, there are some 344,000 Catholics in the country; almost half that number are tribal peoples. Of the seven Catholic dioceses receiving help from the Pontifical Mission Societies, five have been established in the past 60 years; one diocese – Sylhet – just founded in July 2011. Help offered by Catholics to the Church in Bangladesh provides for the work of parishes and schools, as well as for the formation of local priests, religious and lay catechists who will lift up the poor through concrete efforts and the life-giving message of the Gospel. In fact, although the size of the Church in Bangladesh is small, its works make a significant, hope-filled difference in the lives of the poor.

In mid-January, National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI made a journey across the world to walk with our mission family in this Asian nation. As he witnessed the good accomplished by your prayers and sacrifices, he saw also hope in faith offered to children, to the sick and dying, to workers and families, and through the work and witness of priests, religious and catechists. Travel with Father Andrew (see reports on our main website), grateful to be joined together as "one family in mission."

The Pontifical Mission Societies are grateful for the collaboration of UCA News in bringing you reports from Father Andrew's mission visit to Bangladesh.