“Mary was very close to the ministry of Lord Jesus. She conceived Christ the redeemer and nurtured him. Throughout her life, Mary was very closely attached to the mission of Jesus Christ.”- Archbishop Moses M. costa, CSC
Annual Marian Pilgrimage took place on 8th and 9th February 2018 in Miriam Ashram under Diang Parish. Theme for reflection in the pilgrimage was “Mary: Our guide to Mission”.
Metropolitan Archbishop of Chittagong, Most Rev. Moses M. Costa, CSC said, “Every baptized person is a missionary. Mary guides us in the mission of the Church” while addressing more than three thousand pilgrims attending the Solemn Eucharist in Diang Pilgrimage on Friday morning, 9th February 2018. Some other 18 priests concelebrated the Eucharist which was presided over by the prelate.
Christianity arrives in Chittagong in 1518. First settlements of them were in Bandel and Diang of Chittagong. In 2018 Diang pilgrimage is taking place on the 5th centenary jubilee of propagation of faith in Chittagong. Chittagong archdiocese announced the year 2018 as ‘Year of Mission’ setting the pastoral theme for reflection ‘500 years of pilgrimage of faith: heritage- celebration- renewal’. Diang is a holy place sanctified by the bloods of 600 martyrs of 1607 who were burnt alive for their Christian faith. On receiving of the consent of Late Bishop Joachim Rozario, CSC; Canadian missionary Servant of God Brother Flavian Laplante, CSC organized the first pilgrimage to Mary in Diang in 1976. This year the 42nd Marian Pilgrimage took place in Diang.
The pilgrimage started with a Eucharistic celebration for the early arrivals at 2.30 pm on Thursday, 8th February at the chapel of Brother Flavian. Father Pankaj Ignatius Pereira consecrated the Mass. The first Mass of the pilgrimage took place at 4.30 pm immediately after the completion of the final day’s novena prayer in which Father Augustine Bulbul Rebeiro, editor of Bangladesh only national Catholic weekly ‘Protibeshi’ was the chief celebrant. The Eucharistic celebration reflected on theme “Mary: Mother of apostles”. Other 12 priests were also celebrated the Mass.
Eucharistic adoration & reconciliation took place at 8.30 pm on Thursday with theme “Mary in the mission of the Church”. Archdiocesan Pastoral Coordinator Mr. Manik Willver D’Costa and Parish Priest of Diang Father Leonard C. Rebeiro gave reflections on the theme. Number of pilgrims, especially the youth receiving the sacrament of reconciliation was very encouraging.
Marian devotion took place at 9.30 pm. Coordinator of pilgrimage committee Brother Joachim Ratan Gomes, CSC and Father Leonard C. Rebeiro respectively garlanded and crowned the statute of Our Lady of Diang. Ashram Hermit Brother Lawrence Dias, CSC garlanded the photo of Servant of God Brother Flavian. Parish Priest of Chittagong Father Terence Rodrigues, Father Augustine Bulbul Rebeiro, Principal of St. Joseph’s Technical School, Narinda Brother Linus D’Rozario, CSC and some other selected pilgrims lighted 42
candles in a beautifully decorated candle tree which symbolized the 42 years of pilgrimage in Diang. Pilgrims then processioned throughout the rough and hill roads of Diang carrying candles and praying rosary. There were two stations in Joseph Para and Maria Para where the procession halted for a while for scripture reading, reflection and prayer. Publication secretary of the pilgrimage committee Brother
Sylvester Mrdiha, CSC garlanded the tomb of Servant of God Brother Flavian Laplante, CSC and the procession prayed for canonization of him while passing the graveyard. The procession came to an end by returning to the Ashram and placing candles at the feet of Mary, Our Lady of Diang.
Before the Solemn Eucharist began on Friday, 9th February, Archbishop Moses Costa, CSC crowned and garlanded the statute of Mary in Diang. Nine pilgrims lighted 9 candles while announcing theme for each day of novena prayer and mass. The Archbishop sacrificed
special prayer for healing of wounds in body, mind and spirit at the ending part of the mass which made many pilgrims very emotional. The pilgrimage mass closed by releasing doves as sign of peace in the world.