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Serving the People of Bangladesh

On a Mission Newsletter - Spring 2014

Serving the People of Bangladesh When the Oblates first arrived in Bangladesh in 1973 they found priestly formation to be one of their first priorities, as 85% of the people were Muslims. They wasted no time in opening a seminary and scholasticate in Dhaka, the capital of the country. Forty years later, it is clear their efforts have been rewarded: there are currently 50 seminarians, four novices and five scholastics discerning their call to become Oblates. The country is now home to 28 ordained Oblates.

Father Subash Gomes, O.M.I. grew up near Dhaka. “From childhood I had the desire to be a priest,” he said. Before he joined the Oblates, Fr. Subash lived and worked on his family’s farm. “I took care of the cows,” he said. “We knew what hardship was.” The priest, now 40 years old, joined the Oblates after tenth grade and was ordained to the priesthood in 2007.

Today Fr. Subash is Bursar for the Bangladesh Delegation. As such, it is his responsibility to stay in touch with the many and varied Oblate ministries – and to make sure each ministry is properly funded.

Education is another top priority for the Oblates – especially in regions where the people are deprived of schools. “Education is one of the key ways to break the cycle of poverty,” said Fr. Subash. “The education ministry is so successful that more than 100 indigenous students are now attending college.” The Oblates have opened two large schools in Sunamgonj and in Kulaura, as well as smaller schools in 25 remote villages. To accommodate students who travel long distances, the Oblates opened three hostels in the city of Sylhet – two for boys and one for girls.

Natural disasters like floods, cyclones and typhoons are common in Bangladesh. The Oblates do their best to provide emergency relief to the victims of these calamities.

Because the villages in Bangladesh are so remote and far apart, accessing proper medical care is nearly impossible. The Oblates have two shelters in Dhaka where people can go for treatment. They also provide basic medical necessities to the people who live in the slums near the Scholasticate. In addition, some 200 persons come to the Oblate Scholasticate each week to receive free medication.

The Oblates in Bangladesh dream of expanding their ministry to do more to help their people. They hope one day to help migrants develop skills like cooking or sewing so they can find jobs. They want to expand their school programs and hire more teachers. They hope to build deep-tube wells to help those affected by contaminated or insufficient water supplies.

Father Subash reflected on the Oblates’ ministry by saying, “Living the values is our way of preaching.” He continued, “Our presence, our ministries…this is how we reach the people.”

Share Your Blessings …

Our friends who remember the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate through a bequest or gift annuity become members of the Oblate Good Samaritan Society. When you create a gift annuity or create a gift through your Will or Trust, you reaffirm your commitment to care for others who are less fortunate. As a member of the Good Samaritan Society, you will be remembered in the daily prayers of Oblates around the world. Please consider joining the Good Samaritan Society through a planned gift. For information, please contact the Major Gift Advisor listed in this newsletter.

Please join us in prayer for these benefactors of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
who have been called to their eternal rest with the Lord.
Mildred Bartle
Ala G. Biggs
Sr. Marguerite Champagne
Angelina Costellanto
Doris Dirksen
Lois Floyd
Adeline Gassen
Anthony Greten
Marion Bink Harn
Marion Hug
Russell Jackson
Elizabeth Kamin
John King
Bernice Kuczaboski
Dolores Meyer
James Moltz
Marie Nichols
Margaret S. Osterhoudt
Eleanor Pickering
William Ray
Helen Schreiber
Mary Virginia Schreiber
Leo Skopec
Joann Spray
Eleanor Swoitz
Jeannette Thibault
Edward Thies
Anna Vitosky
Jeanette M. Waryha
Alice Wickey
Lois Wilda
Doris Wink

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