Pope Francis has erected the new Diocese of Barisal, Bangladesh, and has appointed Monsignor Subroto Lawrence Howlader, who, until now, has served as Auxiliary Bishop of Chittagong, its first bishop.
According to a statement from the Holy See Press Office, the new diocese was erected with territory taken from the Diocese of Chittagong, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Dhaka. The new diocese will border, to the east, with its mother diocese of Chittagong and, to the west, the Diocese of Khulna. The new diocese's cathedral will be the church of San Pietro in Barisal and its patron will be St. Peter the Apostle.
Born on Sept. 11, 1965 in Noborgram, a district of Barisal in the diocese of Chittagong, Subroto Lawrence Howlader, the newly elected bishop, would go on to study at the Minor Seminary of Goumadi in Barisal. He entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1987 and studied at Notre Dame College and at the Major Seminary in Dhaka. On Aug. 6, 1993, he professed his final vows, and on Dec. 31, 1994, was ordained a priest.
Since his ordination, he has served various pastoral and academic roles, including: 1994-1995: Assistant priest in Mariamnagar, in the diocese of Mymensingh; 1996-1998: Rector of the Minor Seminary in Jalchatra, in the diocese of Mymensingh; 1998-1999: Assistant priest in Pirgacha, in the diocese of Mymensingh; 2000: Assistant priest in Mariamnagar in the diocese of Mymensingh; 2000-2004: Studies for a Licentiate in Psychology in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University; 2005-2009: Master at the Novitiate of the Holy Cross in Barisal; 2008-2009: Regional Chaplain of Caritas in Barisal. In 2006 he was also elected member of the Provincial Council of his Institute.
In May of 2009, he was elected titular Bishop of Afufenia and appointed Auxiliary in Chittagong. On July 3 of the same year, he received his episcopal ordination. In the Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh, he is President of the Commission for the Clergy and Religious.