The Catholic Church in Bangladesh welcomed the appointment of one of its priests to a Vatican diplomatic post, a first for the South Asian country.
Pope Francis appointed Father Lingku Lenard Gomes as Secretary to the apostolic nunciature in Panama on July 1.
“This is a sign of maturity of the Church in Bangladesh,” said Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi. “The time has come for us to respond to our missionary call,” he said.
The bishop said Father Gomes “will be our missionary in a special way,” adding that in the future “we shall try to contribute more in the domestic as well as in the universal Church.”
“At one time foreign missionaries came to Bangladesh for their pastoral service, today it is the Church of Bangladesh that makes itself available to foreign Churches,” said the prelate.
To date there are six priests from the Diocese of Rajshahi who work abroad while another five are ready preparing to leave for the mission.
Father Gomes is the first ever Bangladeshi priest to be named to a Vatican diplomatic post.
“It is a great pleasure for me and for the Church of Bangladesh,” he said. “Although I am not the most suitable, God has chosen me for his work,” said the priest.
“I will do everything to perform my service in the best possible way,” he added.
He expressed his gratitude to Bishop Rozario for “his constant support and encouragement.”
Father Gomes was born on Nov. 17, 1981, in Natore in the parish of Borni, Diocese of Rajshahi. He became a priest on Dec. 27, 2013.
He obtained a doctorate in canon law from the Lateran University in Rome on June 14, 2021.
“I request all of you to remember me in your prayers so that I can be faithful and successful in my first diplomatic mission,” said Father Gomes in an interview with RVA News.
“I am not worthy but always ready to do my best for the glory of God and for the good of the universal Church,” said the priest. – with a report from RVA News and AsiaNews