Holy Cross Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, archbishop emeritus of Dhaka, is grateful for the support he has received in 30 years as a bishop. (Photo: Stephan Uttom/UCA News)
Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, the retired archbishop of Dhaka, has extended his gratitude to everyone including Catholics, Protestants and people of other faiths at home and abroad for their love, support and encouragement during his three decades as a bishop in Bangladesh.
“My retirement on the eve of my 77th birth anniversary, days after the 30th anniversary of my episcopal ordination, made me extremely delighted. The occasion has also filled my heart with gratitude for God as well as for bishops, priests, religious and laypeople of Dhaka Archdiocese and the local and global Church,” the Holy Cross cardinal said on Oct. 4.
The prelate concelebrated his final and thanksgiving Sunday Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral Church with auxiliary Bishop Shorot F. Gomes and retired auxiliary Bishop Theotonius Gomes in capital Dhaka in the presence of about 500 Catholics.
Cardinal D’Rozario congratulated and prayed for newly appointed Oblate Archbishop Bejoy Nicephorus D’Cruze.
“In the name of everyone in the archdiocese, I congratulate newly appointed Archbishop Bejoy D’Cruze and pray so that he can sanctify, educate and lead Dhaka Archdiocese following the footsteps of Good Shepherd Jesus Christ and can get abundant grace and blessing from God,” the prelate said during the sermon.
On Sept. 30, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal D’Rozario and appointed 64-year-old Bishop D’Cruze of Sylhet Diocese as the new head of Dhaka Archdiocese.
Cardinal D’Rozario led Dhaka as its 10th bishop and fourth local bishop since Dhaka Diocese was erected in 1886. It was elevated to an archdiocese in 1950.
“In communion with you all, I have realized God’s love and directions in the past years. We have received blessings from God in abundance and we thank God for everything,” Cardinal D’Rozario said.
“Personally, I am grateful to the current and previous popes. They have loved and trusted me, and thus they have entrusted me with responsibilities of three dioceses in the past 30 years. They have directly and through their representatives, have supported me to carry out my duties.
“I also thankfully remember the contributions of my brotherly bishops of the Bangladesh Church. As I made this journey with them, I have realized the collegial life and spirit of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB).”
He also thanked current and previous presidents, prime ministers, ministers and government officials for their respect and support.
The cardinal also thanked people of other Christian denominations and other faiths for their love, confidence and encouragement in in inculcating human fraternity and establishing harmony and peace.
“I thank God and you all for all the good things we have achieved together and praise the Spirit of the Lord. I also apologize to God and you all with a repenting heart for all the things that can be regarded wicked, ugly, unholy and unloving during my pastoral duties, which are against the Holy Spirit,” the prelate said.
The archbishop emeritus will hand over responsibilities to an archdiocesan administrator by Oct. 15 and reside at the CBCB Center in Dhaka.
“I am going to delve into the largely uncharted territory of retirement life after 30 years as a bishop. I will remain a member of the clergy of the archdiocese. I will spend my time in some personal writings and publications. If the Catholic Church in Bangladesh offers me any responsibility, I will try my best to observe. I will remain obedient to higher authority, the Holy Father and lead my life accordingly,” he added.
Patrick D’Rozario was born on Oct. 1, 1943, in Padrishibpur village under Our Lady of Guidance Church covered by Chittagong Diocese.
He was ordained a Holy Cross priest on Jan. 8, 1972, and became the first priest ordained in the country after Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan in 1971.
He was appointed the first bishop of Rajshahi Diocese on May 21, 1990. Five years later, on Feb. 3, 1995, he was appointed bishop of Chittagong.
He was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Dhaka on Nov. 25, 2010, and following the retirement of Archbishop Paulinus Costa, he was appointed archbishop of Dhaka on Jan. 25, 2011.
In 2016, he became the first cardinal of Bangladesh. Pope Francis extended his term as an archbishop for two years when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 in 2018.