An American missionary priest who spent 62 years of his life serving in Bangladesh died of the new coronavirus disease in the United States on July 26.
Father Eugene Eduard Homrich died and was buried in his native place in Muskegon, Michigan. He was 92.
Father Homrich was born on Dec. 8, 1928, in Muskegon, Michigan. He was ordained priest on June 8, 1955. In the same year, he came as a missionary to Bangladesh.
After learning the Bengali language, he served for three years in the Diocese of Dhaka, an ethnically Bengali area.
In 1959 he moved to Jalchatra parish in the Diocese of Mymensingh, where he remained until 1992. He was then sent to Pirgacha parish, in the same diocese, and stayed there.
The Diocese of Mymensingh is inhabited mostly by ethnic Garo. A large part of Father Eugene’s missionary activity was directed to them.
He founded more than 30 primary and secondary schools, where thousands of children received education.
For his work in Bangladesh, the priest was recognized by the government of Bangladesh.
In 1971, authorities honored him for actively participating in the War of Independence from Pakistan.
Cardinal Patrick D’ Rozario said the priest “overcame so many viruses” and “freed so many people” while he was with the Garo community.
The cardinal described Father Homrich as “a missionary hero in Bangladesh” who worked for the people’s education and healthcare.
“We have lost our real guardian, lover of Mandi people,” said Bishop Paul Ponen Kubi of Mymensingh. “With deep respect, I humbly pray to God to give him eternal life in heaven.”
Father Homrich used to say that “education is the backbone of the nation.”
“Children need to be educated,” he said, adding that the people’s moral qualities “must be kept intact.”
He always called on the people to be always united in defending their community.
“He was a great missionary and visionary for the people of Bangladesh and in a very special way he loved the Garos as he is,” said Father James Cruze, CSC, Holy Cross Provincial Superior of Bangladesh.
“He was a man of zeal, courageous, full of missionary spirit,” said Father Cruze. “He was a good servant of Christ, lover of the poor, (and) great pastor,”
He promoted local vocations to the religious life and the priesthood.
“We have been hearing many stories of his wonderful ministry in Bangladesh,” said Rev. William M. Lies, C.S.C., Provincial Superior of the U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers of the Holy Cross.
“Along with all of you, we mourn the passing of this dear brother, and we commend him to our merciful and loving God,” he said. - RVA News