The supreme pontiff of the Universal Catholic Church His Holiness Pope Francis elevated Chittagong Diocese to the status of ‘Metropolitan Archdiocese’ and appointed Bishop Moses Costa, CSC as the 1st ‘Metropolitan Archbishop’ of Chittagong today at Bangladesh local time 5.00 pm. Apostolic Nuncio and Vatican Ambassador to Bangladesh His Excellency Archbishop George Kocherry announced the Papal bull while presiding over the solemn mass at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral in Chittagong. After the mass, Catholic priests, religious brothers & sisters, laity greeted newly appointed Metropolitan Archbishop Moses Costa, CSC and Vatican Ambassador Archbishop George Kocherry.
This is to note that for rendering better pastoral care there are 8 Catholic Dioceses in Bangladesh namely: Dhaka, Chittagong, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Mymensingh, Khulna, Sylhet and Barisal. There are several Parishes in each Diocese. Priest of the Parishes are known as ‘Parish Priest. Prelate of the dioceses is known as ‘Bishop’. Among 8 Dioceses Dhaka was the only ‘Metropolitan Archdiocese’ since inception.
Juridical territory of Chittagong Diocese is spread over 8 civil districts namely: Chandpur, Luxmipur, Noakhali, Feni, Chittagong, Khagrachori, Rangamati, Bandarban and Cox’s Bazar. In these districts there are 11 Parishes and 5 Sub-Parishes of Catholic Christians. Prelate of Chittagong Diocese resides at the Bishop’s House at Patherghata in Chittagong.
From the historical and socio-economic perspective, Chittagong is very much important in the country. First Christian settlement in the country is established in Chittagong in 1537 by arriving Portuguese traders. In 1600 AD first churches were built in Patherghata and Diang under Anowala Upazilla. First Catholic Priest arrived in Chittagong is Fr. Francesco Fernandez (Jesuit) who was later tortured and killed by the Arakanese. At that period there was no Diocese in Bangladesh. In 1845 Chittagong became the seat of ‘Eastern Bengal Vicariate’ and had served the greater eastern Beangal being the main centre of Catholic Christians. Late the seat is transferred to Dhaka. Chittagong is elevated as the ‘Diocese’ in 1927 AD. At that time the juridical territory covered a vast area from present Barisal Diocese and some parts of India and Myanmar. Being the main sea port of the country, Chittagong is economically important. It has long and rich political heritage.
Catholic Christians are involved in education and health ministry for the people of all casts,
religions, cultures and financial background. Historical, political and economic importance of Chittagong is largely accepted in the country. Elevation to ‘Metropolitan Archdiocese’ and having a ‘Metropolitan Archdiocese’ is another milestone in the rich heritage of Chittagong.