The newly-installed archbishop of the Dhaka Archdiocese has said his priority is to work for solidarity and dialogue in predominantly Muslim Bangladesh.
“Christianity is a universal religion. It has an enormous heart and it has been sent to all ethnicities and nationalities for liberation and atonement,” said Archbishop Bejoy Nichephorus D’Cruze of Dhaka.
The prelate was installed at St. Mary’s Cathedral in the capital of Bangladesh on Nov. 27 with at least 500 people, including non-Christians, in attendance.
“We accept all with an open heart, have dialogue of faith and forge harmony,” said the prelate in his homily.
“It is because we believe all people have been created in the image of God,” he said, adding that the Church should become “a communion, fraternity of believers” for unity to prevail.
He said solidarity is “a must” because “we worship and follow the Trinitarian God — a communion between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
“Jesus has brought together and forged unity among various races and nations with His Holy Blood. We are called to be united in the same fraternity,” said Archbishop D’Cruze.
“This unity and communion can bring for us the heavenly blessings, joy and peace,” he said.
The archbishop said the “many experienced priests, religious, and parishioners” will be his strength as he performs his mission.
He said his encounter with various religious leaders also inspired him. “I understand that religion creates unity because all human beings are the creation of one Creator,” he said.
Archbishop D’Cruze expressed his gratitude to his predecessor, Cardinal Patrick D’ Rozario, who retired as prelate of Dhaka on Sept. 30 after reaching the age of 77.
The new archbishop was born on Feb. 9, 1956, in Puran Tuital village of Dhaka district. He was ordained priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1987.
He obtained his licentiate and doctoral degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
In Bangladesh, he served as director of the Oblate Juniorate in Dhaka and taught at Holy Spirit Major Seminary. From 2001 to 2005, he served as the delegation superior of the Oblates in the country.
He was named bishop of Khulna Diocese in 2005 and served there until 2011 when he was named the first bishop of the Diocese of Sylhet.