Friday, May 15, 2009


Catholic Diocese of Bhadravathi in Karnataka, India was erected on 21st August 2007 by the Synodal decision of the Syro-Malabar Church with the approval of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, bifurcating the Diocese of Mananthavady, Kerala. The territory of the Diocese of Bhadravathi comprises the civil district of Shimoga in Karnataka State. A major part of Shimoga lies in the Malnad (hill land) region of the Western Ghats, a region known for its green forests, plentiful rainfall, beautiful waterfalls, and source of many rivers that flow in Karnataka.
The history of the new diocese should be traced back to the migration of a group of Syro-Malabar Catholics from Kerala to Karnataka immediately after the World War II in search of land and they found Shimoga and the surrounding districts very conducive to their agricultural practices. They slowly tried to settle down as small groups in different parts of Shimoga. These migrant families were under the pastoral care of the Diocese of Mananthavady in Kerala. Due to the geographical distance from the diocesan centre and the cultural and linguistic differences it was almost impossible for the diocesan authorities to take care of the pastoral needs of the migrants. Hence Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy, then bishop of Mananthavady entrusted the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament to take care of the spiritual and pastoral needs of these people. The dedicated work of the MCBS Fathers for the past 30 years paved the way to the creation of the new Diocese of Bhadravathi.
The first bishop of the diocese Mar Joseph Arumachadath was consecrated and the new diocese was inaugurated on 25th October 2007. The task of building up this new diocese is a challenge which he cannot fulfil without the grace of God and the generous co-operation of the faithful. Having taken the phrase “To Serve Thy People” as the motto of his Episcopal Ministry, he tries to formulate a pastoral plan for the entire diocese. The new diocese is dedicated to the patronage of St. Joseph.
The See of the new diocese and the residence of its bishop will be in the town of Bhadravathi and St Antony’s Parish Church, Iduvally, will be the Pro-Cathedral of the new diocese until a new Cathedral is built in Bhadravathi. Both the new diocese and its bishop shall be subject as suffragans to the Metropolitan See of Tellicherry and its Metropolitan.
The newly erected diocese of Bhadravathi has an area of 10,553 sq kms with a total population of 16,39,595 of which 6000 are Catholics. There are at present 13 parishes and 6 mission stations in the diocese. 26 priests are serving the diocese out of which protosyncellus Rev. Msgr. George Njaralakatt is from the diocese of Mananthavady, chancellor and finance officer Rev. Fr. Francis Allumpurath is from the Mananthavady Norbertines, 22 priests from the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, one from the Missionary Society of St. Thomas, and one from OFM (conv.). There are 91 religious in 24 religious houses (6 of men and 18 of women) in the diocese belonging to 8 religious congregations doing ministry through 14 educational institutions, 6 balabhavans, 12 health care institutions, 3 old age homes and other social and developmental activities under the Malanad Social Service Society, the official social work organ of the diocese.

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