Bengali-speaking parishioners were delighted to attend Mass in their own language at Corpus Christi Church in Woodside, March 18. Father Patrick West, pastor, took the initiative to organize the Mass in Bengali.
This was the maiden event for the Bengali community. This immigrant community, mainly from Bangladesh, are settled in various pockets of Queens and spread across various parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Quite a few of them left their native Bangladesh nearly three decades ago, and settled throughout the New York area.
In his own pastoral plan for the parish, Father West wanted to offer a Mass for these parishioners to share and celebrate their language and culture. As pastor, he felt it was right for them to come together and enjoy the fellowship with one another.
There was an initial meeting to organize this event with two leaders of the community, Bobby D’Silva and Jhonny Gomes, who volunteered to organize the Mass with Father West.
Prior to Mass, confessions were heard and many came forward for the sacrament of reconciliation. Many expressed their joy of having this sacrament in their own language after many years. This was a great occasion to experience God’s grace of mercy.
During the season of Lent, the Mass in Bengali for this community was a positive step toward building life and support to their spirituality.
Father Francis Sunil Rosario, a diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of Calcutta, now assigned as parochial vicar at St. Bartholomew, Elmhurst, offered this Mass. All the participants took active part in the liturgy with singing, readings and prayers of the faithful. The intentions of prayers were composed according to the various needs of this community.
After the Communion prayer, the community thanked Father West for his great initiative. They also wished him well for his feast day on March 17, the feast of St. Patrick. A flower bouquet was given to express their gratitude for his pastoral care for the community. Father Rosario was also thanked for his time and interest in making the liturgy lively and meaningful.
A fellowship meal followed Mass in the basement hall. The community members brought food, which was shared among all present. A few from the neighboring parishes also joined this Mass and fellowship meal.
Community members look forward to having similar Masses in the near future. The next event will be at Queen of Angels Church in Sunnyside on Palm Sunday, March 25 at 5 p.m.
An Easter Sunday Mass in Bengali is also planned to help this community to grow in faith, fellowship and to experience the fruits of the Risen Lord in their lives.