Monday, June 10, 2013

Father Silvano Garello, S.X.: A Relentless Advocate and Producer of Christian Literature in Bangladesh - 1

Father Silvano Garello, S.X. at the Xaverian House in Dhaka
Father Garello at his desk in Dhaka checking a newly-printed book
Father Silvano Garello, S.X., an Italian member of the Xaverian Missionaries society, is dedicated to producing Bengali-language Christian literature in Bangladesh since 1989. So far, he published 175 books and booklets for priests, the Religious, children, students, and lay men and women.  

Father Garello, with a French-cut beard and a mysterious smile, is a short but stout priest, who has been a missionary in Bangladesh for the last 37 years. This bello persona (handsome person) is now of 75 years of age, yet he looks like he is in his early 60s. 

Born at Valdagno of Vicenza in Italy on December 31, 1938, he completed his Secondary School studies at the Missionary Institute in Vicenza and Classical Studies (Italian, Latin and Greek) at Desio of Milan. After completion of his theological studies at Parma, he was ordained a priest on October 25, 1964. Then he taught at a secondary school and pursued some more studies at Padua on Pastoral Liturgy. Finally, he studied English in London, U.K.

A Missionary to Bangladesh

On his arrival in East Pakistan (later called Bangladesh) in October of 1970, he worked in the Catholic parishes of Khulna, Satkhira and Borodol of Khulna Diocese. He witnessed the devastating cyclone of November 12 that same year in the coastal areas of the country. In the following year, 1971, he saw for himself the atrocities and barbarity unleashed by the West Pakistani armed forces on unarmed East Pakistanis. His experience of the nine-month-long dreadful and oppressive situation has found expression in several of his Italian-language books, later published in Italy. 

In 1974, Father Garello returned to Italy for studies in Missiology at the Gregoriana University in Rome. He concluded his studies with a thesis, named Guru-Sissho [Teacher-Disciple] Relationship in Inter-Religious Context. He thinks that this method of evangelization in Bangladesh would be most fruitful. In addition, he edited the missionary magazine Fede e Civilta (Faith and Civilization) – the Xaverian mission magazine -- and produced some Italian-language books and audiovisual programmes.  

On his return to Bangladesh in 1980, he served as the rector of the St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary in Khulna town and, at the same time, did pastoral work in the local parish church.

Publisher of Christian Literature in Bengali

From 1989 to 1996, he was at the Xaverian House in Dhaka editing the Mongolbarta (Good News), a bimonthly in Bengali, and publishing Catholic books in Bengali. 

In 1996, Father Garello was away to Jerusalem for a year on a Bible Study sojourn. In 1997, he was on a three-year inter-religious experience, called hridoy gothon (formation of the heart) at Noluakuri village in Mymensingh District. 

From 2002 onwards he has been involved full-time in Dhaka in publishing Catholic religious and spiritual books and booklets in Bengali on behalf of the National Social and Catechetical Social Training Centre of Jessore. So far, he has published 175 books and booklets.
He also helped significantly in coordinating and bringing out the Second Vatican Council Documents, Catechism of the Catholic Church and some papal encyclicals in Bengali. 

Although all do not share with his view of having a strong biblical (Bible-based) apostolate in Bangladesh, he is quite emphatic about it. He published a good number of books based on the Bible and its teachings. He is also quite vocal about inculturation in Bangladesh. He wants to see the use of the local mother tongue (especially, Bengali) in translating books and the Bible (the Bible, in the mean time, although late, has been translated at the initiative of the Italian Benedictine monk Father Carlo Rubini, O.S.B.  in the Diocese of Khulna) and in doing theological studies at the Major Seminary. He also urges missionaries and priests to write more books based on their mature experience and learning. 

A Glance at Some of the 175 Bengali Books Published in Bangladesh So Far 

The following are a few samples of his work in publishing. He himself along with some Bangladeshi Catholics translate and write books. He does the final editing and plans the layout  and design of the books. 

1.      Guido Conforti: Xaverian Shomprodayer Protishthata (Guido Conforti: Founder of the Xaverian Missionary Society), (1982)

2.      Bangladesher Teen Bondhu (Three Friends of Bangladesh – Father Mario Veornesi, S.X., Father Valeriano Cobbe, S.X., and Father Serafino Dalla Vecchia, S.X.), (1982)
3.      Christo Mondolir Itihashey Naari (Women in the Church History), (1995)

4.      Eshiar Shadhu-Shadhi (Saints of Asia), (2003)

5.      Christojaag Thekey Christomondoli (Ecclesia de Eucharistia -- From the Holy Eucharist to the Church) (Encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II on the Eucharist), (2003)

6.      Mondolir Itihash Porichiti (Introduction to the Church History), (2001)

7.      Doridrader Kacchey Mongolshomachar (A Gospel to the Poor),(Commentary on the Gospel of Luke), (2005)

8.      Jibon Baani: Mongolbartar Ashchorjya Kaaj (Handbook for Biblical Apostolate and Spirituality), (2007)

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