LETTER FROM BARISAL
On 16 March a special prayer meeting, arranged by the evening prayer cell of the Roman Catholic Church of Barisal, was held from 9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. in the Roman Catholic Church. All Christians of different denominations were invited. The main theme of the meeting was John 19:37 They shall look on him whom they pierced, and there were hymns, talks and prayers with intercessions, with a special prayer being offered for the sick people present. More than seven hundred people attended the meeting, which was followed by lunch.
This one and a half-hour meeting, consisting of speeches, songs and dances, was held on 26 March in honour of the eleven girls who were taking the school final exams. The departing girls were asked to maintain the discipline they had learnt during their stay at the hostel, and to not forget the love of Jesus. They were asked to pray for us, and were assured of our prayers. At the beginning of the meeting, the girls were presented with story-books and towels. At the end, the girls gave biro pens to the guests and a set of quarter-plates to the hostel. The meeting ended with a festive supper for the guests and all the girls in the hostel.
Twenty-six competitors from class 6 to 10 from St Michaels hostel took place in the race (held outside the compound) on 26 March. Even the youngest boy there from class 6 completed the race without dropping out. There were three prizes, and all the boys were garlanded by Father Francis at the finishing point.
During lent, the hostel boys and girls attended stations of the Cross in church at 5.00 p.m. every Friday. A group of devoted boys from St Michaels hostel went without lunch on Fridays in Lent, and had a prayer meeting in church at what would have been their lunchtime. This year, our Bishop decided to use our lent savings for those who are seriously ill and go to Dhaka for treatment. We all tried to take part in this, including the hostel children. The collection was remitted to the Diocesan Fund. Palm Sunday was observed with fresh date leaves from our own land made into crosses and then distributed at the Holy Communion service. We have a favourite hymn, with a chorus beginning Hosanna, hosanna, which the children love to sing. On Maundy Thursday we held an evening Eucharist. After the service, the candles and electric lights were put out one by one, and we waited silently in church and prayed until this was finished. On coming out of the church, we remained silent until we had returned to our houses. On Good Friday, the young people and the staff of the Mission attended church from 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and from 2.00 p.m. to 3.00 p.m. The parish church, St Peters, had the traditional three-hour service from 12 midday till 3.00 p.m. On Holy Saturday, we had a late evening service of light. Father Francis carried the Paschal candle from the back of the church to the sanctuary, pausing after every three steps for the whole of the way. When the Paschal Candle had been put in place on the altar, all the other candles in the sanctuary were lit. On Easter morning, the church was bright with candles and white flowers. Each section had a party, and our festivities continued on Easter Monday.
This match, held on 13 and 13 April, was a memorial to Fathers Carleton and Golding, and the names of the houses were Father Carleton and Father Golding. Each house had three groups, As (the tallest), Bs (medium) and Cs (the smallest). The winners in the total tournament were ..... Carleton!
We celebrated the first day of Bengali Year 1414, beginning with prayers for our country and Tagores New Year song. For a special breakfast that day, all the children were given puffed rice, flattened rice, grated coconut and hardened Palmyra syrup, followed by slices of water melon. Instead of the Punjabi dress which is in fashion at the moment, most of the St Agness school girls and St Clares college girls wore coloured saris, as being the true Bengali dress. All the young people wished their elders a happy new year and received a blessing. A special lunch was served, the weather was good and the day was peaceful. After the summer holidays, the hostels opened on 04 June and all the children returned after enjoying sweet mangoes at home.
This was held as a memorial to Fathers Douglas and Strong, starting on 03 July. There were two divisions and three teams in each division, so there were three matches, one on each day. Each time it was the Father Strong team which won, and they were given cups and medals.
The prizes, books of good writers, were for last years annual exams and this years SSC exams. All guardians, together with the school committee members, were invited, and between the speeches and prize givings, cultural items were performed.
This day, held on 21 July, was an opportunity for the guardians to ask questions and make suggestions. The object of the meeting was the improvement of the teaching methods in the school, and we think the guardians can give us valuable suggestions and comments. After the welcome speech and readings from Muslim, Christian and Hindu scriptures, there was a long programme of speeches by teachers and guardians, interspersed with cultural items by the children. At the end, packets of goodies were distributed to the children and guardians. 2+Annual Audit 26 31 July
The auditing of the Barisal OM accounts for 2006 was completed by three auditors of one of the government approved auditing firms (A. K. Dev & Co)We hope to receive their report soon.
This all-day workshop in OM High School was arranged by the teachers, and all the teachers were present. The members of the OM High School Management Committee, the headmistress and one teacher from the primary school, and the head of St Agness hostel were invited. The senior teachers explained their teaching methods with different apparatus, and each talk was followed by a discussion, the aim being to discover how the teaching can be successfully presented to the students. There was also discussion on how problems can be solved and how teachers weak points can be overcome.
This special day for St Clares hostel for college girls was held on 12 August. They gave a lunch party to which three sisters, Father Francis, Mrs Shobha Majunder (committee member), Florence, Monica (the nurse), four teachers from St Agness and the manager were invited. During the meal, the guests were entertained with a song, two recitations and a true story.
This took place on 14 August in the primary school hall, where they had decorated the stage. There was a cultural function, beginning with a welcome by our local head, candles were lit on the stage and readings were made from Christian, Muslim and Hindu scriptures. The local head, Miss Florence Sarkar, then talked about the start of the programme at Barisal among the poor women of Barisal. Four groups out of sixty-six of different areas acted on the subjects of dowries and money lenders, and sang a song about womens rights. Another play showed how things were before, with poverty and husbands selfishness leading to divorce. Ichakati Colony group also reported on the progress they have made, and sang a song. At the end, paper bags of goodies were given to all.
On 09 August, the second terminal exams commenced in all primary and high schools. All went smoothly until the last one on 23 August, when the last exam had to be cancelled in all our OM schools due to some political unrest within universities all over the country. We ask for your prayers that our country may remain peaceful.
May we also ask for your kind prayers for the flood victims, many of whom are sick. There have been floods in many areas, but Barisal district escaped. As per our Bishops request, our workers are going to give their one days salary to the Diocesan fund for the flood affected people.
As you will have read, all our departments are active and the staff are dedicated. We ask for your prayers for all the staff, children, patients and beneficiaries not forgetting the committee members, in whose hands the greatest responsibility lies. We wish you in advance a happy Christmas and every blessing in 2008
Yours in Christ
TUSHAR KANTI BYAPARI
Manager, OM Barisal