Pioneering diocesan priest dies

Senior clergy in Bangladesh have been praising the achievements of Father Philip D’Rozario, the most senior diocesan priest in the country, after he passed away this week at the age of 82.

He succumbed to old age at the Bishop’s House in southern Barisal Diocese during the evening of May 10 after suffering from a range of ailments for years including several strokes.

Father Philip D’Rozario, Bangladesh’s most senior diocesan priest, is seen at the priests’ residence at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Dhaka in this 2017 file photo. He passed away on May 11 in Barisal Diocese at the age of 82. (Photo by Stephan Uttom/

“Father Philip was not only a priest, he was also our parent and guide,” said Father Michael Milon Dewri, vicar-general of Barisal Diocese, adding that his passing was a great loss for the church.

“He was a pioneer in inter-religious dialogue, a great local missionary who served the church with dedication on the plains and in the hills. His death is a cause of great sadness for us,” he told

Born in 1935, Father D’Rozario was ordained in Rome in 1966 by Pope Paul VI.

He worked in numerous parishes, offered spiritual counseling, promoted the priestly vocation, supervised a local pastoral retreat center and worked for more than 15 years as vicar-general of Chittagong Diocese.

The priest was also a founding member of the Bangladesh Diocesan Priests’ Fraternity, a national forum for which he served as president twice.

In December 2016, Father D’Rozario was invited to Rome to join a five-day celebration with nine other clergy feting 50 years of ordained life.

His diocese also honored this coveted milestone.

His funeral was due to be held on May 11, with the late priest scheduled to be buried the following day at the Church of Our Lady of Guidance, Padrishibpur in Barisal.