In a long article of the Vatican Paper L’Osservatore Romano (Sunday 26th of November, page 8), written by Card. Patrick D’Rozario (in Italian) in view of Pope Francis’ visit to Bangladesh, he launches an important Jubilee for next year. He writes:
In 2018 it will be the 5th Centenary of the arrival of the first Christians in Bangladesh. They were merchants coming from Portugal, and established themselves at Diang, nearby Chittagong, in 1518. Pope’s visit will inaugurate the Jubilee celebrations for the 500 years of Christian presence in this part of the Sub-Continent.
This region of the Church has been united with the diocese of Cochin in 1598 when the first two Jesuit missionaries arrived: fr. Francesco Fernandes e fr. Domingo D’Souza. In 1600 two churches were built: one at Chandecan (Iswaripur, Jessore), and the other at Bandel, in the province of Chittagong. Jesuit Fr. Francesco Fernandes is considered to be the first martyr in Bengal: after having been severely tortured in a cave, he died on 14th of November 1602.
PS – At Chandecan (Iswaripur) since many years lives Fr. Luigi Paggi, a Xaverian missionary who takes care of the Munda population of the area.
(by Fr. Marcello Storgato)