Archbishop Lawrence Subrato Howlader (Photo : UCA News)

CT News

Feb 22, 2021 : Pope Francis has appointed Holy Cross Bishop Lawrence Subrato Howlader of Barishal as the new metropolitan archbishop of Chittagong Archdiocese in southeastern Bangladesh.

Archbishop-elect Howlader, 56, fills the post left vacant since Holy Cross Archbishop Moses M. Costa died from a stroke following his apparent recovery from Covid-19 on July 13 last year at the age of 70.

Archbishop George Kocherry, apostolic nuncio to Bangladesh, announced the appointment at Our Lady of Holy Rosary Cathedral Church in Chittagong on Feb. 19.

Archbishop Howlader is the second metropolitan archbishop and sixth bishop of Chittagong, one of the country’s oldest Catholic strongholds.

He was the auxiliary bishop of Chittagong from 2009 to 2015. He became the first bishop of Barishal Diocese when it was erected on Dec. 29, 2015, by dividing Chittagong Diocese.

Born on Sept. 11, 1965, in Nobogram of Barishal district, Archbishop Howlader entered Holy Cross Congregation, the largest religious order in Bangladesh, in 1987. He pronounced his first and final vows with the Holy Cross in 1988 and 1993 respectively.

He was ordained a priest on Dec. 31, 1994. He served in two Holy Cross-run parishes and St. Paul’s Minor Seminary in Mymensingh Diocese from 1996 to 2000.

From 2000 to 2004, Father Howlader studied at the Gregorian University in Rome and obtained a licentiate in depth psychology, spirituality and counseling.

He was the novice master of Holy Cross Novitiate in Barishal from 2004 to 2009.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Father Howlader as the first auxiliary bishop of Chittagong on May 7, 2009.

The archbishop-elect has been serving as chairman of the Youth Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB). Last year he was appointed treasurer of the CBCB.

Chittagong Archdiocese has about 30,000 Catholics in 11 parishes and four mission centers. Most Catholics are ethnic indigenous people from the Chittagong Hill Tracts area.

In Muslim-majority Bangladesh with a population of more than 160 million, Christians comprise less than half percent or an estimated 600,000. About 400,000 Catholics are in two archdioceses and six dioceses.

Source : UCA News

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