“Father Francesco Fernandez, SJ became the first martyr in Chittagong in 1602 to witness Christ. Father Andre Bovis, SJ also followed him. In 1607 AD 600 Catholic children, women and men are killed for bearing the faith. 14 Catholics are slaughtered in Chittagong for being follower of Christ.” Archbishop Moses M. Costa, CSC
Chittagong Archdiocese announces ‘Year of Mission’ to mark 5th centenary of propagation of faith in Chittagong and East Bengal. The year is opened yesterday on the 2nd Sunday of advent, 10 December 2017.
In East Bengal Christianity first arrived in Chittagong in 1518 by the arrival of Portuguese traders. First missionaries Father Francesco Fernandez, SJ and Father Domingo D’Souza, SJ came to this soil in 1600. Father Fancesco is also the first martyr in Bengal.
To mark the 5th centenary of propagation of faith all 13 parishes and sub parishes of Chittagong archdiocese opened the year yesterday by unveiling a logo. The mass in Cathedral is celebrated by the Archbishop of Chittagong His Grace Moses M. Costa, CSC. While announcing the ‘Year of Mission’ from 10 December 2017 till 25 November 2018 he has unveiled and blessed the logo for the year. He has also announced pastoral theme for reflection through the year which is “Pilgrimage of faith in 500 years: Heritage-Celebration-Renewal.”
Chittagong archdiocese published banners containing logo for all the parishes and sub parishes, posters and pastoral letters for all the Catholic families.
Since the evangelization, Chittagong was under several juridical administrations. 1518-1597 Diocese of Goa, India; 1598-1605 Diocese of Cochin, India; 1606-1834 Diocese of Mylapur, India; 1834-1845 Vicariate of Bengal under propagation of faith; 1845-1886 Vicariate of Easter Bengal under propagation of faith with its see in Chittagong since 1852; 1886-1927 Diocese of Dhaka. In 1927 Chittagong is erected as a separate Diocese. On 2nd February 2017 Chittagong is raised to the rank of Metropolitan Archdiocese.
Important Historical Snippets:
1518: Arrival of Portuguese merchants in Chittagong.
1537: Settlement of Portuguese merchants in Chittagong and Diang.
1598: Father Francesco Fernandez, SJ and Father Domingo D’Souza, SJ came to Chittagong as first missionaries in East Bengal.
1600: St. John the Baptist Church is blessed in Chittagong on 24th June. The Church is later ruined and the present Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary is built in 1843. Church of Our Lady of Assumpson is blessed in Jamalkhan on 8 December 1600. A 3200 sft. Church is also build in Diang on the same year which is later ruined by Arakans.
1602: Father Francesco Fernandez, SJ was arrested, tortured in the cell, eye is plucked and later killed. He is buried in the ruins of St. John the Baptist Church in Chittagong. He is the first martyr in Bengal.
1607: King of Arakan killed 600 Catholics in Diang.
1625: 14 Catholics are slaughtered in Chittagong. 13 native and 4 Portuguese Catholics are also persecuted in Chittagong.
1713: 2nd Bishop of Mylapur Diocese Most Rev. Francois Laynes, SJ visited Chittagong and Noakhali and stayed for nine months.
1845: Chittagong became the seat of Easter Bengal Vicariate in 1845 which is later transferred to Dhaka in 1852.
1927: Chittagong is erected as a Diocese.
1950: Chittagong is detached from Calcutta Ecclesial Province and attached to Dhaka as a suffragan Diocese.
1977: Chittagong Diocese celebrated golden jubilee as a Diocese.
2000: Celebration of 2000 AD jubilee and 400 years of evangelization in Chittagong.
2015: Barisal region of Chittagong Diocese is separated from Chittagong Diocese and given to newly erected Barisal Diocese.
2017: Chittagong is raised to the status of a Metropolitan Archdiocese. Dioceses of Khulna and Barisal are detached from Dhaka Ecclesial Provice and attached to Chittagong as suffragan Dioceses.
2018: Announcement of ‘Year of Mission-2018’ to mark the 5th centenary of propagation of faith in Chittagong. Pastoral theme for reflection: “Pilgrimage of faith in 500 years: Heritage-Celebration-Renewal.”