Holy rosary

Life behind the doors of the Church of the Holy Rosary

The Father and a Church: Life Behind the Doors of the Church of the Holy Rosary

December 25, 2021, 10:35 a.m.

Last modification: December 25, 2021, 10:44 AM

“It is used for special prayers [rituals of worship] now or to host a funeral, on the rare occasions there is also a wedding in the church, ”said Father Subrata Gomez. Pointing to the larger structure at his back, he added “this is where weddings take place.”

The church generally organizes about a hundred weddings a year. However, due to the pandemic, the number has been reduced. “We’ve had 78 funerals this year,” Father Gomez said, “and 12 Covid-19 funerals. ”

There were over 20 last year.

The most recent church, which can accommodate up to 1,800 people inside, was built in 1993. “However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we can accommodate 1,300 people so that she is not crowded, ”said Father Gomez.

On December 23, the cemetery at the front was being cleaned up and a few men were setting up decorations around the church before Christmas.

Father Gomez was busy, running from corner to corner between his routine prayers. The church’s usual office hours at 3:30 p.m. were closed on Thursday due to preparation.

“You know it’s an interesting thing, we deal with the ‘marital issues’ the most, when we don’t get married ourselves,” Father Gomez said.

Church office hours start from 8:30 a.m. until lunch break. And then resumes from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., except weekends and Christmas.

People come with all kinds of problems or paperwork to consult with the Father and his assistants – this ranges from marriage issues, to family matters, to registration of marriages, to infant baptism, to inheritance matters, etc.

“They think I’ll have all the answers,” Father Gomez said, “but I’m doing my best. And they’re listening to me, well…”, a chuckle escaped, “most of them listen. . ” It’s also that the Father is impartial and impartial, “that’s why people tend to pay attention to what I say, I don’t have an agenda you see,” he added.

There is more energy this Christmas and the church is about to welcome around 2,000 people. Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

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There is more energy this Christmas and the church is about to welcome around 2,000 people.  Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

There is more energy this Christmas and the church is about to welcome around 2,000 people. Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

Christianity in Bangladesh and the pandemic

The day starts around 5 a.m. and ends around 8 p.m. – consisting of personal prayers, accompanying prayers, masses / sermons (depending on the day), office hours, teaching in a seminary in Banani twice a week and one hour of ‘exercise . “I walk every day,” said Father Gomez.

Recently Father Gomez had trouble sleeping. “Others have told me that I am limping, but really, I don’t feel any pain,” he said, “although the muscle cramps in my leg kept me awake some nights.”

On days when Father Gomez feels stressed or too tired, he finds solace in his siblings’ home. “The children of my nieces and nephews,” he said, “what a joy! muscles in their company.

When the pandemic first struck, the church worked harder to help families heal and cope with the trauma. “We are spiritual healers, you see,” said Father Gomez, “not medical healers”.

The church is also called to make family visits and patient visits. And the Chief Father is the most revered individual in the church.

“We encourage vaccination against Covid-19,” Father Gomez said, “but at first I was also hesitant. So when asked if I had been vaccinated, I said I foresaw it, ”Father Gomez added.

“But when Cheikh Rehana got vaccinated [24 February 2021], I went for my first dose the next day, “Father Gomez said with another laugh.

When asked what kind of changes he had seen in his service and work over the past 31 years, Father Gomez was quick to say, “When I first came here in 1990, there were certainly not that many Christians. And this upsurge is due to rural-urban migration over the past 15 years.

Many migrate to the city for education and work, “And you will see many Christians leaving to celebrate Christmas with their families in the villages. They will come back at the beginning of January ”, informed Father Gomez.

But overall, the number of Christians has not increased at all. “You see we have a low birth rate in the community,” he explained, “usually you would see nuclear families and fewer children in educated households. I think that’s the way it is. raison.”

The Christian community tends to have a higher literacy rate, according to Father Gomez.

He also said he personally dislikes one-child families because he suspected the use of artificial contraception, which goes against Christian values.

While speaking, Father Gomez also took care of some of the men who came from the Detective Division to make sure they were on standby around the clock for any support or assistance.

The church is preparing to welcome around 2,000 people this Christmas.

Communion bread is exclusively reserved for Christians. So, while non-Christians are welcome to attend Christmas services, “I can catch non-Christians who are coming for the communion bread,” Father Gomez said, “There are telltale signs in the behavior that I can detect based on my experience. “

At the very end, Father Gomez joked with a chuckle: “Did I say something controversial?”

“No, Father, you didn’t,” he was told.