DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     June 16, 1999     vol. 10, no. 116

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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147 Priests Ordained in One Seminary in 25 Years

          DHAKA, JUN 15 (ZENIT).- The national Holy Spirit Seminary in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has one of the highest ordination rates in the world. In only 25 years of existence, 147 have been ordained to the priesthood, and 7 deacons awaiting ordination are currently at the seminary.

          The 147 priests represent well over 50% of all the Catholic clergy in Bangladesh and 80% of the local clergy. Graduates of Holy Spirit College include Bishop Moses Costa of Dinajpur and 8 priests who are currently on the Seminary's teaching staff. The institution's 25th anniversary was celebrated April 20 and 21; all 147 priests were present for the occasion.

          Before Bangladesh's birth, seminarians were trained at Christ the King Seminary in Karachi. After a difficult struggle to find an adequate teaching staff, financial aid and a building, on August 23, 1973 the then apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Edward Cassidy (today a Cardinal and President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity), and four Bangladeshi Bishops established the Holy Spirit Seminary in Dhaka Cathedral. Two years later, the foundation stone of the present Seminary in Banani, Dhaka, was laid by the first native Bishop of Bangladesh, Archbishop Theotonius Ganguly.

          The faculties of Philosophy and Theology help the students understand the challenges of the priesthood. Since its foundation, the Seminary has been a "living community of faith, hope and charity," Bishop Paulinus Costa of Rajshani said. The primary objective is to help students deepen their awareness of the ideals and challenges of the priesthood, in preparation for their own pastoral ministry. One of the most important factors is practical experience. "This the students gather by taking part in a variety of pastoral activities throughout the country," Father Gabriel Corrya, the Rector, said.

          The Church in Bangladesh must be profoundly grateful to God for the role the Holy Spirit Seminary plays in the growth and development of the faith, Bishop Costa said to the international agency "Fides." On February 11, 1989, on the occasion of their "ad limina" visit, John Paul II told the Bangladeshi Bishops that he saw a source of well-founded hope for the future of the Church of Bangladesh in the national major Seminary in Dhaka. Today, the college is a mature sign and witness of the growth of the Church in Bangladesh. ZE99061403

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

June 16, 1999       volume 10, no. 116


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