“Our true identity lies in our inner self not in our earthly belongings, position, designation, ethnicity etc. Our behavior, moral values, actions and other inherent characteristics makes us who we really are. That is our real identity. As a Christian our real identity should be centered in Christ but unfortunately most of us are in a crisis to understand this identity” Archbishop of Chittagong Most Rev. Moses M. Costa, csc stated this in his pastoral letter for Annual Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly 2020 of Chittagong. The pastoral letter with the theme: ‘My Identity in Christ’ which Archbishop Moses presented through a devotional reading on the 2nd day of the pastoral assembly, also stated that in order to know our real identity we must understand, believe and testify Christ in our daily lives. He further added as a follower of Christ we should be more like Him who was a King, a priest and a prophet and through baptism we receive three divine responsibility which are Kingly, priestly and prophetic. Throughout the rest of the assembly participants focused on these three roles and tried to figure out how we can execute our kingly, priestly and prophetic duties in our lives and so be identified as a real Christian.
Every year pastoral assembly takes place in the Archdiocese of Chittagong where representatives come from every parishes of the diocese and focus on a pastoral theme provided by the ordinary of the diocese. This year the assembly took place on 20-22 February 2020 in the archbishop’s house of Chittagong with the participation of 120 people from 11 parishes and 1 sub parish of the archdiocese. The pastoral theme given by the archbishop for the year 2020 is: ‘Our/My identity in Christ’ All the priests of the Archdiocese were present along with religious brothers and sisters and laity of different age. Area coordinator of Holy Cross sisters, Bangladesh Sr. Pushpa Teresa Gomes, CSC was present as a special guest in the assembly.
The assembly began with the presentation of the reports of the previous year’s pastoral activities in the parishes based on the theme: ‘We are the fruits of mission, mission is our vocation.’ This year the financial situation of the parishes were also presented by the finance office of the Archdiocese in order to get an idea about the financial situation of the parishes and the financial contribution of the parishioners in the pastoral activities.
On 21st February dawn the participants went to the Central Shahid Minar to pay homage to the language martyrs and observe international mother language day. later on the day after the presentation of the pastoral letter by the Archbishop there were panel discussion where 6 different people from different social aspects shared on their identity in Christ andhow they witness Christ in everyday live.
A priest- Fr. Sadhan Augustine Gregory; a religious brother- Br. Ranjan Purification, CSC; a religious sister- Sr. Subarna Cruze, RNDM, a lay man- Mr. Abraham Tripura; a lay woman- Mrs. Bernadette Quiah and a lay youth- Mr. Christopher Quiah were the speakers of the panel discussion.
Based on the presentation by Archbishop Moses and the panel sharing, participants went on group discussion separated in 3 groups- priests, religious and laity. In order to make the discussions easier a facilitator in each group presented a brief idea of what is our kingly, priestly and prophetic role and how we can perform those role in our lives. After very fruitful and spontaneous discussion in the groups the day ended with a holy mass.
The next and last day of the pastoral assembly the reports of the group discussions were presented. Based on the discussions a common pastoral plan will be taken for Chittagong Archdiocese during the year 2020. The assembly with a mass offered by Archbishop Moses M. Costa, CSC.