Thousands of Catholics attended the installation ceremony today of Oblate Bishop Bejoy Nicephorus D’Cruze, as the first prelate of newly created Sylhet diocese in the northeast of the country.
The installation Mass was held at the Immaculate Conception Church in Lokhipur, in Moulvibazar district.
Nine bishops, including Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino and Archbishop Paulinus Costa of Dhaka, as well as several hundred priests, nuns, and brothers joined about 3,000 Catholics who attended what was a historic event for the local Church.
Archbishop Marino read out the Apostolic Letter from the Holy Father that canonically erected Sylhet as the country’s 7th diocese on July 8 this year.
Bishop D’Cruze had served as Bishop of Khulna before his appointment to the new diocese.
Sylhet, which covers four civil districts — Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj and Moulvibazar was carved out ofDhaka archdiocese, making it a suffragan of the same metropolitan Church.
“The Catholic Church in Lokhipur shall be the temporary cathedral under the patronage of the Divine Mercy,” the apostolic letter said.
The new diocese has seven parishes and 11 mission centers with about 17,000 mostly tribal Catholics, served by 21 priests and 33 Religious.
“The faithful in Sylhet have waited for autonomy for so long, and today their dream has come true,” Archbishop Paulinus Costa said in his homily.
“I would like to call upon Bishop Bejoy to look upon education, financial independence, participation in social activities and evangelization, as well as promoting religious vocations as the major challenges for Catholics in the diocese,” he added.