Mostly Catholics in Bengal are found bearing a Portuguese surname with their names, which easily gives the hints of their historical background and their religious identity. Like in Goa, Portuguese arrived in Bengal before the English landed in India. After the Bengal was ruled by English, Portuguese were given rights to trade and live in India with the same status of English. They had mainly two colonial bases. One in Bandel, presently in India and the other one in Dhaka, presently capital of Bangladesh. Local community, who came in contact with Portuguese out of love in Christianity and professional reasons, they were isolated from their original society and were converted by the Portuguese. It is also evident that Portuguese have maintained marital relationship with local Catholics.
Bengalis were divided into two parts during Independence of India and Pakistan. Eastern part was formed as East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh and Western part remained with India, which is now and Indian state “West Bengal”. This Western part later became the grooming field of one of the greatest Christian Souls of the twentieth century name MOTHER TERESA.
Bengalis have rich Culture and Literature. The deeply love their Language and Religion. For earnings, a few Catholic Bengalis arrived in the Kingdom of Bahrain. They saw the excellent opportunities were create by the existing Catholic Community in Bahrain for practicing their Religion. They united under the guidance of Rev. Fr. Felicio Diniz and entrepreneurship of Mr. Anil Rozario. The “Bengali Catholic Community in Bahrain was officially born on 13th January 1993. Out of all members Mr. Solomon Rozario, Mr. Amar Gomes, Mr. Augustin Gomes, Mr. Shymal Gomes, Mr. Amol Gomes, and Mr. Marcel Gomes who took active part for the activities of prayer group for long years and later repatriated from Bahrain. Among others Mr. Victor Rozario, Mr. Anthony Gomes, Mr. Probin Gomes, Mr. Kamal Rozario are still with us and doing community services.
It was an urgent need for the less educated working class Bengalis to offer Mass in their own language. After long effort and devotion shown by that time Spiritual Coordinator Rev. Fr. Servatius Soosal, it was possible to conduct a full Bengali Mass on the day of Easter Sunday 2003. Many faces have been changed since it began but it has been continued, which was started. Now the Spiritual Coordinator is Rev. Fr. Andrews Santiagu and Bengali Mass is offered on 2nd Sunday of every month in Mother Church and Prayer Meeting is conducted on third Sunday of every month.
Being the smallest group, Bengali Catholic Community has been participating in every Parish event and contributing their services according to their limitations. Apart from Religious activities, the group is organizing “Home Away From Home” get together program annually. They were able to publish religious magazine from 1995 to 1999. At present, under the most able guidance of Rev. Fr. Thomas Quadros and cooperation of Rev. Fr. Andrew Santiagu and Rev. Sr. Grace, the Bengali Catholic community have an open mind and ready to accept any suggestions and advises which may help them spiritually and organizationally to grow as a better Prayer Group rather than a general community group.
Bengali Catholic Community wants to take step forward with the belief in Jesus Christ and always remember his words, “I AM THE WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE, WHO BELIVEIVES ME HE GETS LIFE BEYOND LIFE:”.
With best of wishes and regards,
For Bengali Catholic Community,
Mr. Victor Rozario (Mobile Phone – 39093503)
Mr. Anthony Gomes (Mobile Phone – 39206979)