Holy Cross pastor of the parish Rev. Dominic Sarkar blessed a new village chapel and sacrificed Eucharist in Sanghai Para (hill tracts village) on Sunday, 25th March 2018. Sanghai para is one of the 64 paras under Bandarban parish.

Journey for Blessing of Sanghai Para Chapel in Bandarban
Journey for Blessing of Sanghai Para Chapel in Bandarban

CHT Paras are usually situated in a distant hilly and remote place from the nearby town. Most of these paras do not have any road communication. People need to walk for 2 to 8 hours to reach to the nearby town. During the rainy season even walking on risky paths becomes impossible. So it is difficult, expensive, even impossible sometimes for the people of paras to attend Sunday masses in the parish centre. Almost all paras have their prayer leaders who conduct Sunday liturgy of word in the para chapels. But still many paras do not have their own chapel. Usually para community donates land for building a chapel and construction costs are jointly being born by the community and parish. Parish clergies along with religious nuns and catechists try their best to visit the paras as much as possible throughout the year. After all sometimes it is not possible to visit a para more than once in a year. If even the clergies, nuns and catechists visit one para per week, Bandarban having 64 paras will need 64 weeks to complete all and that is more than one year!

Bandarban parish is the second to start in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) after Rangamati back in 1957. The parish is dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima and presently has a Catholic population of about 8,500. Bandarban is the mother parish of 4 in CHT namely Thanchi, Bolipara, Alikadam and Lama. It is only 76 kilometres from the archdiocesan centre in Chittagong and a 3 hours drive by Purbani/ Purobi bus from Karnaphuli Bridge.

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