Friday, September 10, 2010

The 'Pratibeshi' Editorial Was the First in Proposing the Start of Archbishop Ganguly's Canonization


The October 16, 1977 editorial
in the Pratibeshi weekly of Dhaka

The first Bangali (Bengali) Archbishop Theotonius Amal Ganguly, CSC, died of heart attack on September 2, 1977. Hundreds and thousands of people of all faiths paid a respect to him on the grounds of the Archbishop's House in Dhaka. Many people were expecting even before his burial that the canonization process start soon.

The national Catholic weekly Pratibeshi was the first official voice to echo the expectation of the people. In its editorial of October 16, 1977, the Pratibeshi proposed that the canonization process -- at least, in the form of gathering information on the Archbishop -- be started soon after the installation of the new archbishop.

Upon my return from U.S. studies, I had joined the Pratibeshi as the Executive Editor in early September, 1977. I was fortunate enough to write the editorial of October 16 (the original Bangla (Bengali) editorial is shown above). The English version of this editorial is provided below:

The Proposal for Beatifying the Archbishop

Archbishop Theotonius Amal Ganguly, CSC, a virtuous person, died only at the age of 57. He was faithful in living his life following Christian ideals. He left excellent examples of his saintliness and other virtues in every aspect of his life. People of all faiths and ethnic groups were attracted to his pleasant behaviour and action and they were very respectful of him.

During his earthly life, certain persons used to call him a "living saint." We believe that after his death, this country needs him to be a declared saint. There are probably many Bangladeshis who are enjoying the bliss of heaven as unproclaimed saints, but for the strengthening of our faith and for imitating his ideals, we have the need for a proclaimed saint. His affirmation as a saint will also prove that the Church in Bangladesh is also firmly placed.

The first step in the canonization process is the beatification. This work starts with studies of the candidate's life, writings and heroic application of his virtues as well as intensive investigation of at least two miracles that God accomplishes through his intercession. If proven true, the Pope publicly declares the candidate a "Blessed." After this, the Church canonizes the candidate after further satisfactory investigation.

The beatification of a person is quite hard and time-consuming affair. If the local Church starts the beatification process in earnest from the very beginning, the burden of the work becomes easier. To start this work, it is imperative that a committee of appropriate persons be formed. It will not function if the work is done being charged with emotions, but it needs to be completed with sufficient prayer, patience and judiciousness. The committee will need sincere prayers and financial contributions from the faithful. We believe that there won't be any dearth of cooperation from the faithful if the beatification of Archbishop Ganguly is initiated. We, therefore, appeal to the local Church authority to actively consider this matter after the installation of the new archbishop.

In reality, the Arcbishop Ganguly's canonization process started in 2006 after 29 years of this editorial. Although late, it is better than doing nothing!

Let us pray and make every effort in getting Archbishop Ganguly canonized for the greater good of the Bangladesh Catholic Church.

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