In a surprise move yesterday Pope Francis announced a consistory for the creation of 17 new cardinals. The Archbishop of Dhaka learned of his appointment while celebrating Mass and was overcome by a strong emotion. Local priest: "I prayed a lot to God to give us a cardinal. Eventually God responded".
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - "My appointment as cardinal is a blessing, grace and recognition of the Church in Bangladesh by the Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church. This is an honor and a gift that the Holy Father Francis is giving to all the people of Bangladesh and to the nation". This was the Archbishop of Dhaka, Cardinal-designate Patrick D'Rozario’s immediate reaction to yesterday’s news that he has been appointed to the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis. Visibly moved, he told AsiaNews: "I accept this nomination with such spirit and express gratitude to Pope Francis from the whole country".
The cardinal was born October 1, 1943 in the village of Padrishibpur in Barisal district, into a deeply Catholic family. There is no doubt of his contribution to the local Church: he worked in parishes, taught moral theology at the major seminary of the Holy Spirit in Dhaka. He was Bishop of Rajshahi and Chittagong, before becoming archbishop of the capital. He is also the current president of the Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh.
In a totally unexpected move yesterday in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis announced a new consistory to be held on November 19, the eve of the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy. On that occasion he will welcome 17 new cardinals, including the Archbishop of Dhaka.
Cardinal-designate D'Rozario learned of his appointment while he was celebrating Mass in Tejgaon parish. He was so overcome that at first he was left utterly speechless. His emotion was manifested by tears of joy welling up in his eyes.
After the announcement, even the Catholics of Bangladesh erupted in expressions of contentment. Benedict Alo D'Rozario, former executive director of Caritas Bangladesh, says: "We Christians of Bangladesh are encouraged by the nomination of our Archbishop. In this way we will be fortified in the faith and our Church will become stronger".
Cornalius B. Palma, a Catholic businessman, adds: "With the appointment of a Bangladeshi Cardinal, Christians will be able to strengthen their faith. The credit for this outstanding achievement goes to Catholic missionaries".
Fr. Jacob Gomes, of the Archdiocese of Dhaka, reports that the country's Catholics are "inspired by the elevation of D'Rozario to cardinal. For this we give thanks to God. I have always prayed to God in the past to give us a cardinal and finally God answered. "