DHAKA, Oct 23: Bangladesh on Sunday, October 21, repatriated the remains of a Catholic priest who died in Italy last year but asked to be buried in the Muslim-majority country where he spent most of his life.
Father Marino Rigon’s funeral was held at a village south of Mongla with full state honours, a church official said, where the Italian missionary first settled in Bangladesh in the early 1950s.
Rigon had been bestowed citizenship – a rarity in Bangladesh – and decorated with war honors for treated wounded freedom fighters during the 1971 independence war.
He was also recognized for translating major works of Bengali literature into Italian.
His remains arrived on Oct 21 at the port of Mongla where a crowd turned out to pay their respects, a Catholic priest in Mongla, Sarapin Sarker, told Agence France-Presse.
“The government brought his remains back to Bangladeshi soil as a mark of respect to his dying wish,” Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said in a statement late Saturday, October 20.
Marino was born in Vicenza in 1925 but in 1953 relocated to Haldibunia village near Khulna, a coastal district on the Bay of Bengal.
He remained in Bangladesh for 6 decades, returning to Italy in his late 80s where he died in 2018.