Holy Cross School and College’s foundation stone is laid by Catholic officials, politicians and government officials in Rajshahi city on Jan. 25. (Photo supplied)
Holy Cross Brothers in Bangladesh, well known for their education apostolate, have officially started their new ministry in Rajshahi city with an aim of inclusive education.
A ceremony to lay the foundation stone for Holy Cross School and College in Rajshahi Diocese was held on Jan. 25.
Brother Subal Lawrence Rozario, provincial of the congregation in Bangladesh, Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi and mayor Khairuzzaman Liton of Rajshahi City Corporation attended the event.
Holy Cross Brothers aim to construct a school and college for boys and girls that can cater to about 800 students from grades 1-12 as well as boarding hostels for 80-100 students. Construction is expected to take two years.
“We would like to educate all, especially students from underprivileged communities like indigenous people, and seek to promote justice and peace through education. We also want to offer values-based formation,” Brother Rozario told UCA News.
“We always strive for quality education in neat and clean campuses, and here we will employ qualified teachers to ensure quality education.”
With support from the local church authority, the congregation plans to start a university in Rajshahi, Brother Rozario said.
In Bangladesh, Holy Cross Brothers run 25 schools and colleges for about 25,000 students.
Rajshahi, one of Bangladesh’s eight divisional cities, is a major urban area in northern Bangladesh. The city is also known as an education hub with a number of state-run and private education institutes that attract thousands of students each year.
Despite the Catholic Church’s presence in Rajshahi for decades, it does not have any notable education institutes in an area where Catholics mostly belong to poor ethnic indigenous groups with low literacy rates.
Nasir Uddin, district education officer in Rajshahi, holds high hopes for the new Holy Cross education ministry.
“From my experience, I know missionary education institutions differ from government and non-government in quality in regard to academic system, values and extracurricular activities. Thus, the start of Holy Cross School and College in a cause of joy to the people of the city,” Nasir Uddin told UCA News.
Khalek Rahman, 53, a Muslim businessman and father of two from Rajshahi city, is also delighted about the new institute.
“I am happy to know about the new missionary institution in Rajshahi. I am aware of the name and fame of Holy Cross School and College in Dhaka, where I would like to get my daughter admitted in the 11th grade next year. I hope my younger child can study in Holy Cross College in Rajshahi one day,” Rahman told UCA News.
Holy Cross Brothers are one of three branches of the Holy Cross congregation comprised of priests, nuns and brothers. After arriving in Bangladesh in 1853, it has become the largest Catholic religious order in the country.
In Bangladesh, Catholic institutes offer education to over 100,000 students, mostly non-Christians, annually through one university, 17 secondary schools and colleges, 43 secondary schools and 278 primary-cum-junior high schools, according to the Catholic Directory of 2019.