News and Events

The Regional Executive Committee for Youth had a council meeting at Good Shepherd Church, Bagdogra from 18th to 19th January, 2016.

The Youth Commission organized a Bible Quiz and Talent show Competition at Chetana from 30th to 31st January, 2016.

The Claretines celebrated Pongal Festival in the St. Claret School, Sahanagar on 12th January, 2016.

St. Claret School, Sahanagar, conducted a Burdwan District Inter-Schools Football Tournament on 9th January, 2016.

Loreto Convent School observed their Foundress Day as “Mary Ward Week” from 23rd to 30th January, 2016.

Loreto Convent School celebrates Silver Jubilee of their Teachers Mrs. J. George and Miss A. Dattani on 14th January, 2016.

The Annual Prize Distribution Day is organized by St. Joseph’s Convent Higher Secondary School, Chittaranjan on 29th January 2016.

THE TERESIAN CARMELITES SET UP A SPECIAL SCHOOL: The Congregation of the Teresian Carmelites (CTC) celebrated 150 years of their foundation on 20th February, 2016 with a solemn thanksgiving Eucharistic service and the inauguration of a newly built school known as Eliswan Kids.

HOLY CHILDHOOD DAY: Holy Childhood Day was celebrated on 14th February, 2016 with zeal and cheer at Kristo Jyoti Church, Kurmun.

REGIONAL PASTORAL COUNCIL MEETING IN ASANSOL: The Regional Pastoral Council meeting was hosted by the Asansol Diocese on 18th February, 2016 organized by Fr. Panneer Selvam, the Deputy Secretary to the Regional Bishops of West Bengal, with the help of local religious communities and lay people of Asansol.

SEMINAR ON HEALTH PROMOTION: On 30th January, 2016, a one day seminar was organized at Bishop’ House, Asansol. The seminar was conducted by the founding member of the Health Promotion Trust, Fr. Rocky Banz from the Archdiocese of Bombay.

ASANSOL DIOCESAN PRIESTS ANNUAL MEETING: The Asansol Diocesan Priests had their Annual Meeting at Jeevandhara, Raiganj from 11th to 13th January, 2016. Fr. Stephen S.J. was the resource person for the meeting and his session was on “The Role of Priests during the Jubilee Year of Mercy”.

Rev. Fr. Valerian Fernandes died on February 6, 2016 and buried at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Asansol on February 9, 2016. May his soul rest in peace!

Rev. Fr. Alwyn Fernandes died on January 4, 2016 and buried at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Asansol on January 6, 2016. May his soul rest in peace!

Birth Days

25 April 1982 Fr. Fr. Dipak Digal

05 July 1978 Fr. Nilu Murmu

10 May 1978 r. Bishu Besra

31 July 1986 Fr. Vincent Rony

29. Dec 1985 Fr. Abraham

14-Jan-1970 Fr. Dolphy Mathias

17-Jan-1966 Fr. Edward Louis

19-Jan-1975 Fr. Thomas Marandi

02-Feb-1972 Fr. Anthony Raj A.

04-Feb-1972 Fr. Clarence Bhaju

12-Feb-1980 Fr. Mangal Tudu

24-Feb-1958 Fr. Henry Rodrigues

04-Mar-1975 Fr. Devaraj A.

11-Apr-1945 Bishop Cyprian Monis

22-Apr-1980 Fr. Siluvai Kumar

02-May-1971 Fr. J. Peter

09-May-1948 Fr. Robert DSouza

13-May-1973 Fr. Anand Raj

15-May-1971 Fr. Harshavardhan Majhi

24-May-1976 Fr. Michael Dias

30-May-1975 Fr. Arbind Tirkey

05-Jun-1975 Fr. Avinash Kumar

07-Jul-1974 Fr. D. Antony

23-Jul-1967 Fr. Aruldass Lourdu

23-Jul-1975 Fr. Sebastian Joseph

04-Aug-1980 Fr. Britto De Stephen

06-Aug-1976 Fr. Martin Behara

15-Aug-1962 Fr. Elias Frank

21-Aug-1977 Fr. Roshan Suares

30-Aug-1975 Fr. Ananth Kumar

03-Sep-1950 Fr. Antony Lobo

03-Sep-1957 Fr. Ignatius Philo Sarto

09-Sep-1979 Fr. Rahul Sequiera

12-Sep-1968 Fr. Linus Toppo

14-Sep-1973 Fr. Wilfred Monis

17-Sep-1974 Fr. Jayabalan M. Raj

23-Sep-1952 Fr. Sebastian Rodrigues

25-Sep-1971 Fr. Rajsekhar Varre

01-Oct-1952 Fr. Lawrence R. Sah

03-Oct-1971 Fr. Thomas Tete

09-Oct-1972 Fr. Francis Badugu

14-Oct-1971 Fr. Stephen A. Toppo

26-Oct-1976 Fr. Arvind Kumar Negi

30-Oct-1947 Fr. Gerald Machado

31-Oct-1969 Fr. Wilson Fernandes

09-Dec-1956 Fr. Cyprian Pinto

20-Dec-1969 Fr. Xavier Pandian

25-Dec-1970 Fr. Irudaya Doss

HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ASASNOL

Genesis of Asansol Diocese
Asansol, the City of Brotherhood is situated 225 kms North- West of Calcutta. Predominantly a railway town, is situated among the factories and collieries. The work of Evangelization in this area was begun in the year 1870 by the Jesuit missionaries from Calcutta. To be more Precise as early as in 1866 Catholics were found working in the Raniganj and Jhamuria Coal fields. Fr. Jude Henry, S.J. organized catholic worship around Burdwan and Raniganj.
In 1873, a Jesuit Priest opened a mission station at Asansol and built a presbytery and a pretty church, which was used for services. Surprisingly, Asansol at that time was reputed to be a good resting place (what about now?) having good communication with Calcutta and boasting of dry climate compared with Calcutta’s humidity. (cfr.Father Constant Lievens, S.J. by L. Clarysse S.J.). Asansol, which was a small village, gradually grew into a major railway colony. In 1882 St. Joseph’s Seminary was here but it was later transferred to Kurseong. Fr. Constant Lievens, the great Chotta Nagpur pioneer missionary had his training at the Jesuit seminary which is presently the St. Patrick’s School.
The first Christian settlement in Bengal however appears at the end of the sixteenth Century round the Church of Bandel on the Hoogly River. The first ecclesiastical unit with Calcutta as its Head quarters was established in 1834; it was called the Vicariate Apostolic of Bengal. The Word of God began to be accepted by many people as many missionaries started to explore the Vineyard of the Lord in this part of the nation. However as the area began to grow and expand in Chotta Nagpur as well as in Bengal from 1960 onwards Bengal got greater attention when more missionary personnel from South India landing up here to minister to the pastoral needs of the people.
Bishop Lawrence T. Picachy became the Archbishop of Calcutta in 1969 and Cardinal in 1976. Later his Co-Adjutor Archbishop Henry D’Souza served the Archdiocese with administrative vigour and apostolic zeal from 1986. During his episcopacy the diocese began to expand in all directions.
To assist him and the Archdiocese, a simple pastor and missionary among the Santals, Fr. Cyprian Monis, was appointed as the Auxiliary of Calcutta in 1994. As the area was vast and enormous it was decided to give more pastoral care to the people of God by creating a new diocese of Asansol, bifurcated from the Archdiocese. By a Roman Bull, Asansol   was erected a diocese on 3rd Dec.1997 by Pope John Paul II, bifurcating the Calcutta Archdiocese. Bishop Cyprian Monis, the then Auxiliary Bishop of Calcutta was nominated as the first Bishop of Asansol and was installed on March 12th 1998, at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church which was erected as the Cathedral of the Diocese of Asansol on the same day.

The Catholic Diocese of Asansol - Today
Christianity in this diocese can be traced back to 1870 when the Jesuit Missionaries reached Burdwan from Calcutta and to Asansol from Patna. The Catholic Diocese of Asansol was created out of the Districts of Burdwan, a part of Birbhum and a part of Bankura.

Boundaries
The diocese has the following territories: the civil district of Burdwan, 9 police station areas of the district of Bankura viz., Saltora, Meejhia, Gangajalghat, Barjhor, Sonamukhi, Patrasari, Indua, Chatna and Bankura and 10 police station areas of Birbhum district viz., Muhammadbazar, Rajnagar, Khoyrasole, Dubrajpur, Suri, Illambazar, Sainthia, Bolpur, Labpur and Nanoor. The total area is about 13, 300 sq. k m s. in the state of W. Bengal in Eastern India.

Population
It has a population of about 13.5 million peoples of whom 33,000 are Catholics. 63% of the Catholics are Santals tribal, 35% are Hindi speaking and the remaining are Bengali, English and other languages speaking communities.

Rice Belt & Coal Belt
The Diocese basically falls within the Rice Belt (Burdwan area) & Coal Belt (Asansol area). The rice belt consists mainly of the Districts of Burdwan & Birbhum, where 63% of our Catholics are Santal tribals. Most of them are poor illiterate marginal farmers, laborers and daily wage earners, who earn their daily living by working in the rice fields of large landowners. During the rainy season, most of them are usually terribly affected and the church here stands as a sign of hoe and support for these pious and devout Santals and people of other faith too. True enough, they respond to the Gospel and give witness to the call of Jesus in spite of the number of atrocities on them. The diocese has the following rivers viz. Damodar, Ajoy, Mayurakshi and Haldia, the waters of which are used for irrigation. Thus our diocesan area is known as the rice bowl of Bengal. The Hooghly also touches on the Eastern part of the diocese.
The Coal belt has the Hindi speaking people that consist of the 35% of the catholic population of the Diocese. Most of them work in factories and offices to earn their living. As there are many schools in Asansol, quite a few of them are teachers too.

Attraction of the Diocese
The world famous international university, ‘Santiniketan’ –abode of peace –at Bolpur, was founded by Nobel Laureate Kavi-Guru Rabindranath Tagore, is a special attraction in the diocese of Asansol that draws students not only from India but from all over the world.
The Chittaranjan Locomotive Plant at Chittaranjan is another attraction in our diocese. This plant builds Electric Engines for the Indian Railways. The Indian Iron & Steel Co. (IISCO) at Burnpur and the Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) are some of the other attractions of our diocese, where some of our Catholics work and earn their livelihood.
Maithan dam is another tourist and picnic spot in the diocese.