Saturday, October 14, 2017

Father Benjamin Costa, C.S.C., Passes Away


(L-R): Dominic Rozario and his friend Father Benjamin Costa, CSC, at the Mathis House of Notre Dame College, Dhaka
Photo (July 17, 2017) © Jerome D'Costa

(L-R): Father Bernard Palma and Father Benjamin Costa, CSC, as young priests in the early 1970's
Photo @ courtesy of Father Bernard Palma

With a heavy heart, I am announcing the unexpected demise of Father Benjamin Costa, C.S.C., on Friday, October 13, at 3:45 p.m. at City Hospital in Dhaka. He died of acute lung and respiratory complications due to pneumonia. He was 75.  

Father Benjamin Costa, a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Bangladesh and former Acting Vice Chancellor of Notre Dame University, first in September last had suffered from chikunguniya virus attack and later from pneumonia and serious lung complications. On September 28, he was rushed from Square Hospital of Dhaka to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore where his situation did not improve. He was brought back to Dhaka few days ago and was admitted to City Hospital at Lalmatia.


His funeral Mass, held on Saturday, October 14, at St. Mary’s Cathedral at Ramna at 9:00 a.m., was attended by numerous grieving fellow priests, Brothers, Sisters, leaders of different religions, relatives, friends, school-college-university students and teachers, and well-wishers. Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, C.S.C., a classmate and friend of Father Costa, officiated at the Mass. Another memorial Mass was held at Holy Rosary Church at Tejgaon at 1:00 p.m. Around 4:00 p.m., he was buried at the Holy Cross Community Cemetery at Bhadun, about 20 km north-east of Dhaka.

In their condolence messages, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, and Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Dr. Akhtaruzzaman expressed their shock at the death of Father Costa and praised his valuable contributions to the education and development sectors of Bangladesh.  

Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, in an October 14 email message to me, wrote: “…The climax of our [cardinal and Father Costa’s] friendship was on 26 Sept. when in ICC [intensive care unit] at the [Dhaka] hospital, Ben [Father Benjamin] asked for the sacramental absolution of his sins on his 75th Birth Anniversary. Confession was his best gift of friendship with me; and from me, the most precious gift to him in ministering reconciliation. Restlessly he worked, now he enjoys eternal rest.” It is noteworthy that Roman Catholics try their best to have a rewarding death by confessing their sins and receiving God’s forgiveness before leaving the earth.

Born on September 26, 1942 at Doripara Village of present-day Gazipur District, Father Benjamin Costa, at the age of five, with his siblings and parents (Late Matthew Costa and Late Elizabeth Palma) moved to Rajardior Village of Chatmohar Upazilla in Pabna District when their and fellow villagers' lands were acquired by the British government for building the railway line from Dhaka to Chittagong.  He studied at local parish primary school at Mathurapur of Pabna District and then at Little Flower Preparatory Seminary and Holy Cross High School at Bandura of Dhaka District and at Notre Dame College of Dhaka. He also studied at Notre Dame University in Indiana, USA, and later at Christ the King Major Seminary at Karachi in West Pakistan. On January 7, 1971, he was ordained a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross at Mathurapur Catholic Church. Much later, he also studied at the University of Chicago, USA.

He first served as a professor and later Principal (April, 1998- December, 2012) of Notre Dame College, Dhaka, and then Acting Vice Chancellor (2013-August, 2017) of the newly-established Notre Dame University Bangladesh in Dhaka. 

For Catholic youth formation and development, his contribution is legendary. He helped in the formation of the Catholic Jubo Seba Dal and other youth initiatives in the Archdiocese of Dhaka. He was also involved in many other charitable and educational organizations and initiatives. He was also was rector of college-going Holy Cross seminarians and Holy Cross Brother candidates. He was a prolific writer and translator. His write-ups appeared in numerous Catholic and secular newspapers, magazines, and journals. He wrote and translated several Catholic religious and spiritual books. In early 2017, his Bangla-language book of essays and articles, called Probondoshomogro, was published by Lekhaprokash -- a secular publishing house in Dhaka.

May God give an eternal rest to Father Benjamin Costa!

A part of his funeral ceremony at St. Mary's Cathedral can be viewed at: Fr. Benjamin Costa CSC: He Is No More


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Thursday, October 12, 2017

UTHAYAN: A Publication of Toronto


Uthayan -- a Tamil-language weekly -- from Toronto

'Uthayan' or 'Canada Uthayan' is the Tamil-language weekly newspaper, which bills itself as "Canada's #1 Tamil newspaper," covers Canada, Sri Lanka, India, and world with news, features and articles on politics, economy, finance, business, community events, beauty and fashion, food, real estate, health and fitness, religion, entertainment, astrology, sports, and more.

Email contact: uthayannews@yahoo.com

It's also available online at: Uthayan


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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

DAS JOURNAL: A Publication of Toronto


Das Journal -- a German-language bi-weekly -- from Toronto
This German-language bi-weekly newspaper caters to the German-Canadians, Austrian-Canadians, and Swiss-Canadians by providing news, features, and articles on politics, economy, business, finance, community events, entertainment, health and fitness, science and technology, religion, food, automobiles, architecture, travel, sports, and more. 

Email contact: info@dasjournal.ca/

It's also available online at: Das Journal



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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

TORONTO LIFE: A Publication of Toronto


Toronto Life -- a monthly magazine -- from Toronto
This monthly provides news, features, and articles on Toronto city life and current events, personalities, society, business, lifestyle, beauty and fashion, culture and cultural heritage, political and socio-economic trends, entertainment, festivals and parades, movies and TV, bars and clubs, restaurants, food and drinks, education, real estate, law and order, transport, multiculturalism, secularism, seasonal listing of restaurants and shopping malls, sports, and more. 

It's also available online at: Toronto Life




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Monday, October 9, 2017

The Myanmar Rohingya Refugee Crisis Affects Us All


A Rohingya dad cries for his dead son after fleeing to Bangladesh by crossing the Naf River from Myanmar
Photo courtesy: The Daily Star, Dhaka

Make-shift shelters Rohingya shelters on the hills of Balukhali in south-east Bangladesh
Photo courtesy: www.npr.org/

The Rohingyas, an Indo-Aryan ethnic group of Muslims living in the Rakhine State of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), since last August, are being hunted down by the Myanmar army and their Buddhist civilian accomplices. These people -- facing beheadings, deadly physical attacks including rapes, and burning down of their houses and belongings – began to flee mainly to Bangladesh. So far, their number has risen to more than 500,000.
The government of Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingyas as their citizens, who are living there as stateless persons. They also don’t have the status of one of the government-recognized ethnic minority groups in the country. The Rohingyas have been victims of sporadic attacks in the last few decades, but widespread and organized government-supported attacks took place in the last 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The United Nations and many other countries, including Bangladesh and Canada, have condemned these attacks and persecutions and asked Myanmar government to take proper action to stop these killings and deportations.

According to the Vatican Radio, Pope Francis, on August 27, speaking to pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, said: “Sad news has reached us of the persecution of our Rohingya brothers and sisters, a religious minority. I would like to express my full closeness to them – and let all of us ask the Lord to save them, and to raise up men and women of good will to help them, who shall give them their full rights.”

According to the Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis to a general audience on February 8 this year said: “I would like to pray with you today in a special way for our brother and sister Rohingya. They were driven out of Myanmar, they go from one place to another and no one wants them.”  He further said: “They are good people, peaceful people, they aren’t Christians, but they are good. They are our brothers and sisters. And they have suffered for years,” he said, noting that often times members of the ethnic minority have been “tortured and killed” simply for carrying forward their traditions and Muslim faith. Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Myanmar on November 27 - 30 and Bangladesh on November 30 - December 2 this year. 

Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario, C.S.C., of Dhaka, Bangladesh, in a statement on September 20, 2017, said: "The humanity is under attack in different places of the world by different peoples.... yet the humanity is not totally finished. Its bright example is Bangladesh that has come forward in protecting the Rohingyas in the country. Bangladesh, not only opened its border for the Rohingyas, it has opened its heart to thousands of children, women, the elderly, the sick, the wounded, and babies in the wombs. It is as if the humanitarian maternity of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and its people. 

He further said: "We thank Pope Francis for his constant support toward the suffering Rohingyas. He is with us, too. We also thank Caritas International and other non-government agencies that are determined to be beside these people by extending their assistance through Caritas Bangladesh...The prayers of Bangladesh Church will always be with these suffering people."


To know more on the events and issues, please click on the following: 



Background Information on the Rohingyas of Myanmar:


(Updated  on Oct. 10, 2017)




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Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Quotation of the Week (October 8 - 14, 2017)


A quotation of John William Fletcher on 'fanaticism,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (A lake scene through a rain-drenched car window on way to Tobermory from Sauble Beach, Ontario, Canada: August 22, 2015) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

GTA WEEKLY: A Publication of Toronto


GTA Weekly: A weekly newspaper of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
This weekly, claiming to be "strengthening community by sharing diverse perspectives," covers the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and provides news, features, and articles on politics, economy, business, arts and culture, entertainment, community events, personalities, leisure and lifestyle, city services, public transport, sports, horoscopes, and more. 

Email contact: info@gtaweekly.ca

It's also available online at: GTA Weekly



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