This weekend we are pleased to focus our attention on our sister parish, Corpus Christi Parish in Jalchatra, Bangladesh. We’ve had a sister parish relationship with them since 2008, but I realize a lot of our parishioners might not be aware of this special relationship. With that in mind, we’ve formed a committee of parishioners to try and help increase awareness of our sister parish so that we can commit ourselves more deeply to prayer and solidarity with them.
Our sister parish relationship has been a tremendous blessing for us and for Corpus Christi Jalchatra alike. For one thing, they pray for us… a lot! They often offer Masses for us and pray holy hours for us, and I hope we are all incredibly grateful to be on the receiving end of so much prayer. For our part, we frequently offer Masses for them (making this a special focus of our school Masses), as well as making monetary donations to them through events such as the Fish Fry, Trivia Night and school service projects. I have been blown away by how far our humble donations go in Bangladesh — the cornerstone in one of their beautiful new chapels credits Christ the King South Bend for providing them with that chapel, simply through the Fish Fry donations we’ve sent every year! It’s truly a privilege to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ in such an important way.
Corpus Christi Jalchatra is a really impressive place. (It’s also worth noting that Fr. Ron Tripi, our longtime former Associate Pastor until his death in 2013, was Pastor of Corpus Christi Jalchatra for nine years during his time as a missionary in Bangladesh.) First of all, they minister in a very challenging environment. The vast majority of the population is Muslim, so Catholics make up far less than 1% of the population. Additionally, Catholics are predominantly tribal peoples who are ethnic minorities. As such, even though Bangladesh is a very poor country, Catholics are often among the poorest of the poor.
In the face of these obstacles, Corpus Christi Jalchatra does amazing ministry. They have several mission chapels to offer liturgy, sacraments and catechesis to the great crowds who can’t travel to the main chapel. They operate several schools (including boarding schools), which give these children a chance at a brighter future. They also offer a host of other services to meet the needs of their parishioners: medical services, vocational training and legal advocacy, to name a few. In the photos we’ve shared in this bulletin, you can easily see the great joy that these Christians have, as well as the strong Christian community they’ve forged.
I am so grateful for the efforts of our newly re-formed Sister Parish Committee (Sharon Craft, Tim Flanagan, Dani Glynn and Kathleen Kloska) to raise awareness of this wonderful relationship. Please keep Corpus Christi Jalchatra in your regular prayers, and consider joining us tonight for a Holy Hour specifically offered for them.