KRISHNAGAR, WB, (C.M. Paul) – It is rare that a Salesian with “Banerjee” title gets ordained priest. In fact, he is the first Salesian in Kolkata province with that title. Normally we have Bengali priests with surnames like Das, Mondol, Mullick, Sirkar and Gomes. The third and final priestly ordination for the 2011 batch of deacons for the province was held 28 January at Holy Redeemer Cathedral in Krishnagar, Nadia District, Paschimbango.
Salesian Bishop Joseph Suren Gomes ordained Chandan James Banerjee who hails from Nirmal Nagar under Krishnagar cathedral parish. There were 61 priests concelebrating at the solemn Eucharistic celebration during which the ordination ceremony took place. Fr Banerjee will celebrate his first holy Eucharist on Sunday 29 January, in the cathedral.
Incidentally, some 50 years ago, Chandan’s uncle, another Banerjee was at the Salesian Seminary in Bandel and was well known for his proficiency in Latin and bombastic use of English language.
About a thousand people, mostly young people boys and girls from neighbouring boarding schools, as well as candidates and young religious, packed the cathedral to witness the event.
Besides the imposition of the hands by ordaining bishop and anointing of the hands of the to-be ordained by the bishop, and parents bringing the chasuble and vesting Chandan; there were three highly emotional moments during the service.
First moment was when all the concelebrating priests one by one placed their hands on Banerjee’s head and said a short prayer.
The second electrifying moment was when the priests one by one lined up to kiss Banerjee’s anointed hands and gave him a welcome embrace.
The third charged moment was when his parent’s came forward and put a garland on him, hugged and kissed him… his mother’s tears of joy and sobbing brought tears on several faces in the congregation.
The cathedral choir under the baton of lay leader and social activist Augustine Haldar rendered full throated singing accompanied by three priests (Nirmal Gomes on the accordion, Dennis Murmu on keyboards, and Peter Mullick – vocals).
Don Bosco Youth Centre Krishnagar served lunch to all who came for the celebrations.