Fr Benjamin Costa, an eminent educationist and former principal of Notre Dame College in Dhaka, died at a Dhaka hospital yesterday. He was 75.
The man, who had a great contribution to the country's education sector and human development, left behind a host of relatives, admirers, followers and well-wishers to mourn his death.
Also former acting vice chancellor of Notre Dame University Bangladesh (NDUB), Fr Benjamin had been suffering from lung disease.
He also suffered from Chikungunya couple of months ago and doctors found infections in his lung. As his condition was not improving despite treatment in Dhaka, he was flown to Singapore on September 27, Father Adam S Pereira, registrar of NDUB, told The Daily Star.
After treatment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, he was flown back to Dhaka yesterday morning and was admitted to City Hospital. But he had respiratory problem since noon and died due to respiratory failure and pneumonia around 3:45pm.
Father Adam also said a funeral mass will be celebrated today at Ramna Cathedral at 9:00am with Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario presiding over it. Another memorial mass will be held at Tejgaon Church at 1:00pm. He will be buried at Holy Cross Community cemetery in Gazipur at 4:00pm, he said.
Fr Benjamin was born in Gazipur on September 26 in 1942, but his family moved to Chatmohor of Pabna when he was five years old. However, he spent a major part of his life in Dhaka, said Father Adam, who had been with him since 1976.
He served as Notre Dame College principal from 1998 to 2012. NDUB was established under his leadership as he took the responsibility of the university as its acting VC since its inception in 2013, he added.
In August, Fr Benjamin handed over the responsibility to a new VC.
“He was not only an academician, but also a strict administrator. He always put utmost priority on quality education during his leadership at the college,” said Father Adam.
“We have been able to give a strong foundation to the university under his leadership,” he said.
Fr Benjamin launched a movement called “Sammilito Prochesta” with the principals of around 15 Dhaka colleges around 10 years ago for improving the standard of education.
Fr James Cruze, CSC Provincial Superior, said, “His many years as principal of Notre Dame College and his service as the first acting vice chancellor of Notre Dame University Bangladesh have made an incalculable contribution to education and human development, especially among the young people of Bangladesh.”
Students and teachers of Notre Dame College expressed profound shock at his death. They requested all to pray for his departed soul.