10/16/2017, 17.18
BANGLADESH
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The late Fr Benjamin Costa, a well-known educator, is mourned in Dhaka

by Sumon Corraya

More than 3,000 people attended his funeral. The priest was involved in education for 35 years. He founded the country’s first Catholic university. Prime Minister Hasina and former students praise him.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Benjamin Costa, who died in Dhaka’s City Hospital from pneumonia at the age of 75, was laid to rest today after a funeral attended by more than 3,000 people, including many Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. Card Patrick D'Rozario officiated the service at St Mary Cathedral on Ramna Road.

The prelate noted that “Since 1962, I and Fr Benjamin have been very good friends. His was a gift from God. He planted the seed of education through his selfless contribution and now the nation and Church are getting the fruits”.

Fr Costa, who belonged to the Holy Cross congregation, was one of best known Bangladeshi educators. He was involved in the field for 35 years.

The importance of his educational work is evidenced by the many messages of affection and condolences that poured in the last few hours, including one from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who said, "The country has lost a noted academic”.

Fr Costa was ordained on 7 January 1971. In 1976 he joined Notre Dame College in Dhaka, eventually becoming its principal, and serving until 2013.

Four years ago, he founded the country’s first Catholic university, Notre Dame University Bangladesh, acting as its deputy chancellor until his retirement on 21 August of this year.

“His death is a great loss for us,” said Fr James Cruze, Provincial Superior of the Holy Cross. “His many years as principal of Notre Dame College in Dhaka and his service as the first acting deputy chancellor of Notre Dame University Bangladesh have made an incalculable contribution to education and human development, especially among the young people of Bangladesh”.

According to Card D'Rozario, Fr Costa “not only taught to impart knowledge, but also to be a perfect human being. He led a very simple lifestyle, used public transport, and wore very simple clothes.”

For Liton Gomes, a former student, “Although Fr. Benjamin has died, he remains with me through his teachings. He is my ideal”.

Another former student, Mahamud Rafiq, a Muslim, has nothing but praise for the clergyman. “He not only taught knowledge, but also morality. His teachings are a guide in my life”.

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