Alikadam Parish

Parish ministry became inevitable and an irreplaceable need. Keeping Sylhet which was established in 1982 as the base, and in order to be close to people and take part in their daily life thus providing them with a sense of belonging to a bigger community the Oblates began to set up parishes and appoint resident pastors in many mission centers.

After the resurrection, Jesus said to his disciples, “Go to the whole world and preach the gospel to all mankind (Mk. 16:15).” Being initiated into this way of thinking the Oblates are always ready to reach out to the down trodden and neglected. Therefore when Bishop Patrick Rozario CSC, the Bishop of Chittagong diocese, invited the Oblates to his diocese to take care of these neglected people, the Oblates saw, felt, and understood the need and they extended their missionary wings to Chittagong.

It was on the 8th of December 2006, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, that the Oblates took over Jarnal Khan parish in Chittagong and Alikadam, a sub-centre of Bandarban parish. Bandarban mostly consists of forests and hills. Hill terraces are used for Jhum cultivation and fruit plantation. The government owns most of the land. Tribals do not have documentary ownership of land. Different groups of tribal people;-the Chakma, Tripura, Marina, Murong, Tonchayanga, Chak, Rachaine Khyang, Khumi, Lusai, Pankho, Boam and even Bengali occupy this beautiful land. The Bomang chief however exercises a system of leasing out land to the tribal people in the tribal power structure. The people of this area cultivate paddy, vegetables, ginger, and turmeric as the main crops.

There is so much of hope in this beautiful land for evangelization. The need is light, to remove the darkness. But the execution is not easy. Education is absent. The people of this area have no knowledge about life. They are cut off from the rest of the country. They live in utter poverty without essentials, such as food, clothing, shelter, education and medication. Hamlets have not been visited for long periods because of the distances. It takes six days on foot through thick jungles, to approach one village, with stops on the way. The food though yams, is heavenly to the tired body and thirsty lips. The travelling bag when laid down seems heavier than the mountain climbed. The fear of the malaria mosquito and snakes disappear the moment the head hits the “no pillow” mat. This trip is done occasionally by us but the people of this area do it frequently. They are affected by all sorts of sicknesses. Malaria is the worst killer. They have to struggle for their survival with out proper treatment facilities.

After knowing all these difficulties still the Oblates are ready to face challenges for the sake of Christ. Fr. Henry Rebeiro OMI in Jamal Khan, Fr. Subash Costa OMI and Fr. Bejoy Rebeiro OMI in Alikadam, are the pioneering Oblates to start the missionary work in the new mission. The first year was experimental but after the visit of the Provincial it was confirmed that the Oblates would continue to work in the diocese of Chittagong. Though Alikadam is canonically not declared a parish it is functioning like one.

It is always a big challenge to be here. There is the great danger of feeling isolated and disappointed. Therefore one has to constantly follow Jesus Christ, mentally be prepared, be courageous, and also physically strong enough. The help of the Oblates is solicited in some Dioceses, unlike the founder who never refused a request-, we have to move with some caution. The spirit is willing but the numbers are weak. The challenges are real and we hope that we will respond to the needs in an adequate manner. May the Lord who sends Lisout on mission empower us.

Parish Priest:
Fr. Kajol Gomes, OMI

Assistance Parish Priest:  
1. Fr. Soroj Costa, OMI
2. Fr. Rocky Costa, OMI

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