One hundred and seventeen priests, nuns, brothers and lay men and women coming together from 13 parishes and 2 quasi parishes gathered in Bandarban Hill Parish on 3-5 November 2022 and expressed their deepest desire to participate in the Synodal journey of the Church.
The annual pastoral assembly of the Chattogram Catholic Archdiocese took place recently in Bandarban for which the theme was set to ‘Deepest desire to participate in the Synodal journey of the Church’. The assembly was presided over by the Metropolitan Archbishop His Grace, Most Rev. Lawrence Subrato Howlader CSC and facilitated by the Diocesan Pastoral Service Team popularly known as PST.
While addressing the participants of the assembly in his pastoral letter, the archbishop mentioned this moment as a grace-filled time for the three folded events of Synod 2021-2024, Ordinary Jubilee 2025, and the recent papal apostolic letter Desiderio Desideravi. The archbishop’s pastoral letter drew some historical developments and theological insights about the Synodal journey of the Church. Besides, he expressed his deepest desire for a drastic conversion in the local Church to make the journey together happens. He has drawn the faithfuls’ attention to some apostolate on which we need to focus to make the journey together a reality. In this connection, his focus were liturgical & Eucharistic formation of the people of God, family prayer, migration, a balance of young and senior Catholics, and effective patronage to the credit union movements. He emphasized making the journey happen with the people with special needs who are not welcomed in the community and are mostly unheard.
Earlier to the discussion of the pastoral letter, on the first day, all the parishes and quasi-parishes presented reports focusing on the participation of the people of God at the local Churches. Diocesan Development Coordinator Mr Mickey Paul Gonsalves prepared and delivered a summarized graphical presentation of the reality of the participation which was a guide for the next session of group sharing. Parish groups sat together and tried to reflect on the participation of the laity, expectation and measures in their own parishes.
The parish groups again gathered after the group session to make concrete action plans for the parishes to make the journey together a reality in their own context. On hearing the plans, the diocesan pastoral team laid a coordinated pastoral direction that emphasized the the areas of pastoral focus of evangelization; liturgical & Eucharistic formation; journey with the physically challenged persons, elders, migrants, drug addicts, transgender, and other vulnerable groups; increased youth participation; and small Christian communities.
The three days long pastoral assembly ended with a solemn Eucharist presided by the Archbishop of Chattogram His Grace, Most Rev. Lawrence Subrato Howlader CSC.