Diocese of Chittagong
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The Diocese of Chittagong comprises of the 17 Civil Districts of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachori, Noakhali, Feni, Laxmipur, Bhola, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Barisal, Jhalakathi, Borguna, Gopalganj, Madaripur and Shariatpur.

Population

Total population is 28,586,492. Ethnic groups include the Bom, Chakma, Marma, Murong and Tripura.

Language

Bangla (Bengali), English and tribal languages are used in the diocesan territory.

History

The early history of the Church goes back to 1537 A.D. when there were Catholics in the Portuguese settlements in areas that now form part of the Diocese of Chittagong. The first Churches were set up in 1600 in what now forms Diang and the city of Chittagong.

Father Francesco Fernandez, SJ, who came to Chittagong in 1598, and who was blinded and tortured and died in captivity on November 14, 1602, is the Bengal’s first martyr. In 1845 Chittagong became the seat of the first Vicar Apostolic of Eastern Bengal, and later the administration was transferred to Dhaka. Noakhali was also the first place to have the Holy Cross missionaries who arrived there in June, 1853.

The Diocese of Chittagong was canonically erected on May 25, 1927, taking away a good half of the territory that comprised the then Diocese of Dhaka. The Diocese then comprised of Chittagong, Noakhali, Barisal, Gournadi, Narikelbari, Haflong, Badarpur, Akyab, Sandoway, Gyeithaw and Chaugtha. Akyab, Sandoway, etc. was handed over to the La Salette Fathers in the Diocese of Akyab in 1937-38.

The newly erected Diocese of Chittagong in 1927 was entrusted to the care of the Canadian Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross. When the new ecclesiastical province of Dhaka was created in July, 1950, Chittagong became a sufragan of Dhaka. Later in 1952, portions of the Diocese of Chittagong that were situated in Assam (India) were detached to form a separate ecclesiastical unit, called the Prefecture of Haflong, and later the Diocese of Silchar which is called now the Diocese of Agartola and the Diocese of Aijwal.

Political

Citizens elect parliamentary representatives for constituencies in the area. Members of ethnic minorities can vote and take part in politics without undue pressure. Chittagong city residents have the opportunity to elect their mayor and the Chittagong City Corporation.

Transportation

Chittagong is connected to all parts of the country by road and rail, and to some parts by air. Roads connect the city to towns and rural areas in the diocesan territory.

Geography

The diocese covers a land area of 44,195 square kilometers comprising 17 civil districts: Bandarban, Barisal, Bhola, Borguna, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Feni, Gopalganj, Jhalakathi, Khagrachori, Lakhipur, Rangamati, Noakhali, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Madaripur and Shariatpur.

Economy

Annual per capita income was the equivalent of US$45 as of January 2010. Garment and cement manufacturing, steel re-rolling and dried fish are the main industries. The main agricultural products are rice and jute.

Telecommunication

There are many cell phone service providers in addition to government and private landline service providers. Cell phones are growing in popularity,, but limited network coverage of Hill Tracts areas became available only recently.

Education

The literacy rate is 56 percent.

Bangladesh government funds 26 Christian churches

Bangladesh government funds 26 Christian churches The Christian Religious Welfare Trust of Bangladesh government which functions under the Ministry of Religious Affairs made the contribution on December 1 in Dhaka.