Jesuit Father Aelred Gomes, a 'great man of knowledge and wisdom,' passed away on Aug. 1. (Photo courtesy of the Society of Jesus Mission, Bangladesh)
A Bangladeshi bishop has paid tribute to a prominent Indian Jesuit missionary for his seminal contributions in the formation of clergy and religious in Bangladesh.
Father Aelred Gomes was a former superior of the Bangladesh Jesuit Mission that is part of the Calcutta Jesuit Province based in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata. Father Gomes, who was also a former provincial of Calcutta Jesuit province before taking charge of mission work in Bangladesh, passed away in Kolkata on Aug. 1 after a long illness and was buried Aug. 3. He was 74.
Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi, vice-president of Catholic Bishops Conference of Bangladesh said Father Gomes' death is a big loss for the local church.
"He was great man of knowledge and wisdom, an ideal priest to us all, especially to young priests who sat in his classes. He was efficient in many things but was humble and simple in lifestyle," Bishop Rozario told ucanews.com.
"He has made immense contribution in the formation and renewal of priests and religious in Bangladesh," the prelate added.
Born on April 11, 1944 in Dhaka district, Aelred Gomes migrated to India along with his parents as a child and settled in Krishnanagar in West Bengal state.
He studied at Jesuit-run St. Xavier's School and St. Xavier's College in Kolkata. He joined the Jesuits on June 28, 1962 and was ordained a priest on May 10, 1975.
Father Gomes served his congregation in various capacities and was sent to Bangladesh as the superior of the Jesuit mission.
In Bangladesh, he taught at the Holy Spirit National Major Seminary. He was instrumental in the formation and spiritual renewal of clergy and religious in the country as a long-time trainer for the Bangladesh Conference of the Religious. He also conducted numerous training classes and retreats in religious formation houses across Bangladesh.