Joseph Stephen Peixotto, Catholic missionary educator to Bangladesh, dies

Missionary priest Joseph Stephen Peixotto of the Congregation of Holy Cross

Missionary priest Joseph Stephen Peixotto of the Congregation of Holy Cross died at Moreau House in the capital of Bangladesh on February 4. He was 87.

The American priest first came to Bangladesh in 1962 and taught at Notre Dame College for 50 years. In 2014, he was named treasurer of the university until his death.

He served as member of various committees and advisory boards in the government and in the Church, including as adviser for various schools and educational institutions.

"One of his great contributions as a missionary was to educate people of all races, religions, and castes," said Father James Cruze, CSC, provincial superior of the congregation.

"He has shown the way to develop the educational system of Bangladesh," added Father Cruze.

Notre Dame College in Dhaka was established in 1949 and today is recognized as one of the country’s premier education institutions for the level between high school and four-year degree schools. It is nationally recognized for providing stellar academics in a politically neutral environment.

The late Father Peixotto was also known for his social welfare work, especially during disasters.

Jyoti Gomes, director of St. Joseph International School, said Father Peixotto had been suffering from heart ailment in recent months.

In December, he was infected with the new coronavirus disease and was admitted to a hospital. 

Father Peixotto was born in San Francisco, California, on May 6, 1933. He was ordained priest on June 9, 1961.

Bangladesh is the Congregation of Holy Cross' oldest-surviving mission effort outside of North America. - Nikhil Gomez / RVA News