New bishop of Sylhet diocese in Bangladesh installed

Bishop Shorot Francis Gomes of Sylhet

Bishop Shorot Francis Gomes, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Dhaka, has been installed as the new bishop of the Diocese of Sylhet on Tuesday, July 20.

The installation rite was held at the Cathedral Church of Immaculate Conception in Lokhipur, Kulaura.

Among those who attended the celebration were Archbishop George Kocherry, apostolic nuncio to Bangladesh, Archbishop Bejoy N. D’Cruze, OMI, of Dhaka, president of the Bangladesh Catholic Bishops' Conference.

Also present during the installation ceremony were Archbishop Lawrence Subrato Howlader of Chattogram, Bishop James Romen Boiragi of Khulna, Bishop Sebastian Tudu of Dinajpur, and Auxiliary Bishop Theotonius Gomez, CSC.

Attendance during the celebration was limited to a few bishops, priests, and faithful due to prevailing health restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis named Bishop Gomes as new bishop of Sylhet in Bangladesh on May 12. 

"Bishop Shorot Francis is a wise, far-sighted leader, very humble, prayerful, hardworking, responsible, friendly, very compassionate towards the poor and needy,” said Archbishop D’Cruze in a message.

“I believe that the bishop will go through his pastoral service with deep faith in God,” he added.

In his message to the faithful, Bishop Gomes said the Diocese of Sylhet “is a fertile ground for preaching the Good News.”

He said the Church has to “move forward” to ensure the dignity of “those who are deprived in many ways.” He said he would try “to build a beautiful and peaceful diocese through inter-religious dialogue.”

The new prelate said he would prioritize “the formation of faith, preaching, strengthening of religious education, expansion of education, formation of youth society, formation of small Christian society, protection of rights and dignity of indigenous brothers and sisters" in his pastoral work.

Bishop Gomes was born on Dec. 15, 1965, in Hasnabad parish under the archdiocese of Dhaka. He completed his primary and secondary studies from the Holy Cross High School in Bandura. He later entered the Little Flower Minor Seminary in Dhaka. 

He started his philosophical and theological studies at the Holy Spirit Major Seminary in Banani, Dhaka, in 1984. He was ordained priest on May 31, 1990, and later served as rector of the Little Flower Minor Seminary. 

From 1998 to 2002, he pursued a doctoral degree in Moral Theology in Rome.

Back in Bangladesh, he served as parish priest of Nagari and Tejgaon for three years until 2005. He was vice rector of the Holy Spirit Major Seminary until he was named vicar general of Sylhet in 2012.
On Feb. 8, 2016, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Gomes as auxiliary bishop of Dhaka while serving as vicar general of the Diocese of Sylhet. 

The Diocese of Sylhet comprises the civil districts of Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj, and Moulvibazar.
The diocese lies in the Ecclesiastical province of Dhaka in Bangladesh and has a population of about ten million people, about 19,000 of whom are Catholics. Bishop Gomes is the second bishop of Sylhet diocese. - Nikhil Gomez / RVA News