Message from Deacon Prodip Mrong
Those who do not know me, I am Deacon Prodip Mrong. I am from the diocese of Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Now the question may be: how did I get here? My bishop and your Archbishop Chaput went to Rome for the “Synod on the Family.” After working together and becoming friends, Archbishop Chaput said to my Bishop, “What can I do for you?” He responded to Archbishop Chaput “Can I send two seminarians to study in Philadelphia?” And so, I am here at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary with my seminarian brother, Nobel Pathang. Archbishop has given us the opportunity to study in America, here in Philadelphia, with other international students. I already completed all my studied here and I am going back to my home diocese Mymensingh, Bangladesh God willing to be Ordained as a priest next year in January.
I cannot believe it is already 5 years since my arrival here in United States! I remember my formation adviser Msgr. Magee and I came here to St. Thomas Aquinas church in 2017 and Msgr. Shields welcomed me very lovingly. Time does fly by when you are having fun. One of my Pastor’s asked, why do you think time has passed so fast? It was because you enjoyed your time here! Yes, it was such a happy and joyful moment that I did not realized how fast it had gone! It is due to all of you who have made my journey very joyful and meaningful. You have been always with me and have welcomed me with open arms. Within these past years, I have come to realize and believe that you have a big heart filled with love, kindness, and generosity. You welcome strangers from foreign lands with open minds and arms, just as Christ does for all of us. When I was leaving my home country Bangladesh to the USA my parents and relatives were crying. I realized how much they loved me especially, when I saw for the first time my Father crying. I think they were crying because they thought who will love me and take care of me like them. After coming here and knowing many good and generous people like you, I told my father and family, “do not worry, you cannot imagine how much they love me”.
I have been at the seminary for 19 years. Though I have faced some challenges, I am enjoying my life and vocation. I believe that God loves me, and I believe that He called me to my vocation through my friends, parents, and those in whom I trust. He also loves you and is always calling you through different people and through different moments of your life. Our duty is to listen to him and respond to his call.
I am blessed to be a part of St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Truly, this church is a very beauty, historical, and multicultural church. Every culture has its own beauty. Though you have different languages, different cultures but when you come to the church you become one in Christ. All you come to one church St. Thomas Aquinas to worship one God. I am blessed to be a part of this Church. I tried my best to participate in most of the events. I had a great opportunity to visit the sick giving communion, food distributing on Friday, playing soccer and doing some activates with youth, doing Bible study, taking alter server class, teaching at the school, praying the rosary with the community, cleaning the compound, working at the vegetable garden, visiting some families and eating with them, Camping, etc. I enjoyed them all. Fr. Dominic (Pastor), Msgr. Shields (former pastor), Fr. Wilmer, and Fr. Kurniawan are very good Priests. They are very generous, loving and kind persons and at the same time they are very friendly and spiritually very strong. For me they were a father figure who gave me love and guidance. They were teachers who gave me knowledge and wisdom, and they were friends whom I shared everything openly without any hesitations. At the same time, I am so proud and blessed to have such a wonderful welcoming and generous parish staff.
I came here to St. Thomas Aquinas church and now I’m leaving full of love, friendships and have learned to appreciate the American culture. I also acknowledge that I had many limitations and shortcomings, but in spite of all these, I tried by best to learn as much as I could. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn new customs from other Christian brothers and sisters from other countries, and at the same time share my culture here with you.
My Bishop, Ponen Paul Kubi, has sent you greetings and blessings and has invited all of you to visit our diocese as well as our country, Bangladesh. Though our country is small, and the people are very poor, we have a very rich culture and a huge heart. You are most welcome to visit our country and share our culture and the Catholic faith. It is my great honor and joy to extend my thanks and gratitude to all of you because of your unending love, prayers, and generosity. Thank you and May God bless you. I will miss you all.
Deacon Prodip Mrong