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Bangladesh

The changing landscape of priestly vocations in Bangladesh

Appeal of priesthood declines in wealthy areas but is still strong in relatively poor and indigenous communities

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The changing landscape of priestly vocations in Bangladesh

Father Benjamin Pintu Costa with Holy Cross Archbishop Moses M. Costa of Chittagong after his priestly ordination at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Bandarban district of southeast Bangladesh on Jan. 24. (Photo: Chittagong Archdiocese)

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Benjamin Pintu Costa recently became the ninth new priest ordained by the Catholic Church in Bangladesh in one year.

Costa, 37, was ordained a diocesan priest on Jan. 24 at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Bandarban district in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a hilly, forested region covered by Chittagong Archdiocese in the southeast.

The priest is neither a local Bengali nor an ethnic Catholic from Chittagong, one of the country’s oldest Catholic strongholds. He hails from Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rangamatia, one of eight Catholic parishes of Bhawal region, another Catholic stronghold under Dhaka Archdiocese in central Bangladesh.

“My ordination in front of large crowds in Bandarban was significant and encouraging for local ethnic Catholics. The seed of faith was sowed here more than 70 years ago, but they don’t have a local son as a priest,” Father Costa told UCA News.

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