Diocese of Mymensingh
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Population

Total population is around 16,349,000. In addition to wide use of Bangla tribal languages Garo and Hajong are also spoken by indigenous people in the diocesan territory.

History

Before September 1987, the area which is now Mymensingh Diocese was part of Dhaka Archdiocese. So the early history of the Church in this Diocese is linked up with the history of Dhaka. In the second part of the 16 th century, there were already Catholics in various parts of what is now Mymensingh Diocese, such as at Hoshenpur of Kishorganj District. But the remarkable Catholic evangelization work among the Garo people began only in the early 20th century. This work among the Garos and the progress made is indeed a bright spot in the history of the Church in Bangladesh. In 1909, five Garo leaders made the long trip down to Dhaka to ask the Catholic Bishop to send a priest. A year later, the Bishop sent Father Fleury, CSC, and Brother Eugene, CSC, to study the situation. In late 1910 and early 1911, Father Adolphe Francis, CSC, began the work in Tausalpara near Ranikhong. On March 19, 1911, Father Francis reaped the first fruits with 21 Catholic baptisms at Tausalpara. The first church among the Garos was built at Tausalpara in 1912, and in 1913 Father Francis began living there. In 1915, he moved to the Ranikhong Hill where Ranikhong Parish is now. Until 1918, Father Francis was practically always alone, tramping the Garo country from east to west, covering the 90 miles strip of territory, where in the following twenty-five years a total of six parishes were established.

When the Mymensingh Diocese was created in 1987 (comprising the Civil Districts of Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Kishorganj, Netrakona, Sherpur and Tangail), eight parishes existed: six of them close to the Indian State of Meghalaya border (from East to West): Baluchora (1930), Ranikhong (1912), Bhalukapara (1926), Biroidakuni (1928), Baromari (1942) and Mariamnagar (1937). Parishes had also been established in Mymensingh Town (1927), and at Jalchatra (25 miles or some 40 kilometers Southwest of Mymensingh Town in 1960). Three additional parishes (bringing the 2007 total in the Diocese to 11 parishes) have since 1987 been erected at Boruakona (1989, with territory taken from the eastern part of Baluchora Parish), Pirgacha (1993, with territory taken from the northern part of Jalchatra Parish), and Joljolia (2006, with territory taken from the western part of Biroidakuni Parish).

On May 15, 1987, Pope John Paul II erected the Diocese of Mymensingh and named as first Bishop, Father Francis Anthony Gomes, who was then studying in Rome. On Sept. 8, 1987 the new Diocese was officially erected, and the new Bishop was ordained in Mymensingh. On Christmas Day 2003, Father Ponen Paul Kubi, CSC (at the time Director of the Pobitra Krush Sadhana Griha, Rampura, Dhaka) was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Mymensingh and ordained in Mymensingh on Feb. 13, 2004. On July 15, 2006, Bishop Ponen Paul Kubi, CSC, was appointed Second Bishop of Mymensingh by Pope Benedict XVI. The installation ceremony was held Sept. 1, 2006. By the end of 2006, the Catholic population of Mymensingh Diocese numbered 72,952.

Political

There is no separate political structure in the diocesan territory. There are some seats in the Parliament for Mymensingh. Citizens elect their representatives for those seats. No serious disruption of democracy is seen for the time being. Minorities can vote and take part in politics without any pressure.

Transportation

Mymensingh is connected to all parts of the country by land and, to some extent, by river. Buses, trains and private vehicles are the main modes of transport to Mymensingh town. Roads and highways connect district towns and rural areas of the diocese.

Geography

The diocese covers a total land area of 16,448 square kilometers. It comprises the six civil districts of Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Kishorganj, Netrokona, Sherpur and Tangail.

Economy

The per capita income in the diocesan territory is equivalent to US$599 (as of June 2008 according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. This figure represents overall Bangladesh per capita income). The main agricultural products are rice, pineapple, jackfruit, banana, etc.

Telecommunication

There are many cell phone service providers in addition to government and private land phone service providers. The cell phone is much used.

Education

The literacy rate (overall) in the diocesan territory is 47 percent (as per Census-2001)

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