Bangladesh’s first cardinal visits Bengal

Kolkata, Dec 31 (IANS) Bangladesh’s first Bengali Cardinal visited eastern India’s oldest church on New Year’s Eve and wished message of peace and goodwill to the people of both countries.

“I wish all people on both sides of Bengal, both believers and people of all ethnic and religious groups, the blessings and guidance of the Blessed Mother,” Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka, said after celebrating Mass at Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary at Bandel in Hooghly district in West Bengal.

Cardinal D’Rozario is the first cardinal (under the Roman Catholic Church) from the Bengali-speaking community.

The 73-year old Holy Cross prelate was among 17 new cardinals created at a consistory on November 19 by Pope Francis.

The new cardinal concelebrated (officiated jointly) Mass at the Bandel church, with eight priests, including the first Bengali Salesian provincial Father Nirmol Gomes and prior of Bandel Church Father T.L. Francis.

The cardinal’s entourage comprised some 40 relatives from Bangladesh as well as Kolkata, including Bengali clergy from the archdiocese of Calcutta and priests from Salesian and Jesuit provinces of Kolkata, said Father CM Paul.