On September 14, 2018, the Catholics of Dhaka celebrated the 150th anniversary of one of the capital’s very first churches. Built in 1868 in the old part of Dhaka, the Church of the Holy Cross was the cathedral of the archdiocese for many years.
Three thousand Bangladeshi Catholics celebrated the 150-year jubilee of one of their capital’s oldest churches, paying homage to the missionaries’ remarkable contributions to the growth of the Church in Bangladesh.
The Church of the Holy Cross is located in Luxmi Bazar, a commercial zone that dates back to the time of the Mughal Empire.
While the exact date of the arrival of the first Catholic missionaries in old Dhaka is uncertain, we do know that a Catholic church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1628.
This first sanctuary was replaced by another chapel that was in turn replaced by a parish church in 1868.
The Church of the Holy Cross was the first cathedral of the archdiocese of Dhaka until 1963, when a papal decree raised the church of the Immaculate Conception, in the heart of the capital, to the rank of a cathedral.
Estimates say there are between 300,000 and 350,000 Catholics in Bangladesh, for a population of 163 million, 90% of whom are Muslim.