Bangladesh's farewell to Mgr Costa, a spiritual leader for Catholics and Muslims
by Sumon Corraya
The archbishop emeritus of Dhaka died at the age of 78 from a heart attack. During his life, he always tried to promote peaceful coexistence among all of the country's religious communities. His contribution to the defence of human rights earned him two national awards.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Bangladesh is remembering Mgr Paulinus Costa as a religious and spiritual leader for people of all faiths, not only for Catholics. The archbishop emeritus of Dhaka died two days ago from a heart attack.

As he did every morning, the prelate, 78, celebrated Mass on Saturday. After he went to lunch he felt sick and was taken to hospital right away, in vain. He had been ill for some time.

Born in Gazipur on 19 October 1936, he was ordained priest on 21 December 1963.

In 1996, Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of Rajshahi, the diocese in which he served until 2005, when Benedict XVI placed him at the helm of the Archdiocese of the capital city of Dhaka.

That same year, he was appointed president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh. Having reached the age limit, he retired in 2011.

As part of his apostolate, Mgr Costa promoted peaceful coexistence among different communities, in a country with a Muslim majority.

In recognition of his work, on 2 October 2007, he received the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award.

In 2010, the Human Rights Legal Aid Society gave him an award for his "significant contributions in defending human rights in Bangladesh".