On Sunday, November 20, the Congregation of Holy Cross’s General Administration hosted a celebratory banquet at the Generalate in Rome, Italy, honoring his Eminence, Patrick D’Rosario, C.S.C., Archbishop of Dhaka.
The previous day, Saturday, November 21, Archbishop D’Rosario had been elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica. All told, Pope Francis created 17 Cardinals in this latest consistory that helped marked the end of the Year of Mercy.
Cardinal Patrick is the first Cardinal ever from Bangladesh and only the second Cardinal in the history of Congregation of Holy Cross, the first being Cardinal John F. O’Hara, Archbishop of Philadelphia.
“In the history of Holy Cross here in Bangladesh, we have given to Church the 17 bishops,” said Fr. James Cruze, C.S.C., Superior of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Province (Dhaka, Bangladesh). “Archbishop Patrick becoming a cardinal is an honor, surely for the whole Church here where we Catholic Christians are 2 out of every 1000 people. Fr. Moreau, who took so much criticism for accepting this mission, must be rejoicing with us.”
Cardinal Patrick began his evening at the Holy Cross Generalate with a visit to the chapel for a moment of silent prayer. Then, the new cardinal went to the Generalate’s dining room where he was joined by over 50 of guests who had come from Bangladesh and around the world to witness and celebrate this historic event.
Fr. Robert Epping, C.S.C., Superior General of the Congregation, warmly welcomed and sincerely congratulated Cardinal Patrick on behalf of the Congregation, and thanked God for the work of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Bangladesh.
Fr. Epping commented that he was at the shrine of Blessed Basil Moreau in LeMans when he heard the news of the announcement of the new cardinals. “I visited the tomb of Fr. Moreau who sent Holy Cross missionaries to Bengal in 1853, and almost 175 years later, we are blessed to have our first Holy Cross Cardinal there,” said Fr. Epping.
The Superior General acknowledged the pastoral zeal and leadership of Cardinal Patrick in the three different dioceses in which he has served as bishop. He also commended on how the Cardinal continues to lead with simplicity and pastoral sensitivity, especially in the Muslim-dominated country.
In his remarks, Cardinal Patrick narrated his vocational journey in Holy Cross. It is a story of the whole Holy Cross family, as he spoke of being inspired by the Holy Cross priests in his parish, educated by the Holy Cross Brothers in his school, and nursed back to health by the Holy Cross Sisters as a teenager when he was gravely ill.
After his higher secondary studies, the young Patrick was sent directly to the Novitiate. He had decided then that if he would get the religious habit, he would never abandon it. Looking at the scarlet robe he was wearing, he commented, “That, too, fits me well,” which was followed by thunderous laughter.
Cardinal Patrick thanked the Congregation of Holy Cross for the relationships in community he still shares today, and for the pastoral, theological, and administrative formation he received. He acknowledged the life and writings of Fr. Thomas Barrosse, C.S.C., and the early French Canadian missionaries who made tremendous sacrifices to build up the local Church. The Cardinal said that he remains grateful to those pioneers, and even though some of them have left the community, he still meets with them on his visits to Canada.
The evening concluded with song and prayer.