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The present Ecclesiastical Unit of Balasore is the outcome of a gradual and systematic growth from a mere Mission Station to a Prefecture Apostolic to a Diocese, as though it were from infancy to adolescence to maturity. The Church of Balasore may not claim yet to be matured especially in the Ecclesial life, in the life of the Christians in which it is still in the infant stage.

When we consider the Evangelistic History of Balasore, we need to see it in 3 different stages (I) Pre-Prefecture Apostolic stage, (II) Prefecture Apostolic stage and (III) Diocesan stage.

    Historical data about the Pre-Prefecture Apostolic stage of Balasore are very scanty. However, from the few records that are available, it can be asserted that the discovery of the sea-route from Europe to India by the renowned Portuguese navigator Vasco de Gama in 1498 and the following invasion of the Portuguese traders to India, have played a vital role in the beginning of Christianity (Catholicism) in Orissa, particularly in Balasore region.

    Those Portuguese traders who were chased away from the Madras coast by the local people for fear of being over powered by them travelled North-wards, came and settled themselves in PIPILI, an ancient port and a possible trading centre near Subarnarekha River opening to the sea in Balasore District in the year 1514. Together with those Portuguese traders who were Catholics, also came Catholic religion to Balasore District in Orissa. Thus PIPILI (not the present Pipili in Puri District) in Balasore District became the cradle of Catholicism in Balasore, from the beginning of the 16th century A.D. and it began to grow and spread gradually. Nearness to the sea and conveyance through river made PIPILI thrive in business and it attracted more and more Portuguese to that place.

    Following the entry of Vasco de Gama, Goa became a Portuguese settlement with several Portuguese Catholics residing there. In 1534, Goa was erected a Catholic Diocese by Pope Paul III, entrusting it to the Augustinian Missionaries of Portugal with territorial Ecclesiastical jurisdiction from Africa to Japan including India for evangelization. Thus the Augustinian Missionaries from Goa began to visit PIPILI from 1535 to attend to the spiritual needs of the Portuguese settlers there. In the year 1606, the Augustinians built a small church in PIPILI dedicating it to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. By the end of the 17th century, Pipili became a strong Catholic Christian centre and they began to spread even to the neighboring Balasore which was by then already a small town. Those Portuguese were mostly sea-men and merchants who were at sea for almost 6 months of the year from January to July, trading mostly with the far-east in salt, pepper, butter, sugar, wax, soft clothes etc. Their presence in Pipili was really felt only during the six months of the year from August to December when trading was less due to bad weather. Ill-luck had it that by the year 1625 Pipili with its ancient port and trading centre was eaten up by the sea, rendering the Portuguese merchants leave the place to the neighbouring Balasore town. Pipili in Balasore District is no more in existence now. Together with the traders the Augustinian Missionaries too shifted to Balasore. It is recorded that in 1640, the Augustinians had built another Church in Balasore dedicating it once again to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Those Augustinians had worked in Balasore until 1699 when they left Balasore and Orissa for Goa.

    Thereafter, the Jesuit Missionaries from Bengal were visiting the Portuguese settlements in Balasore, giving them opportunity to receive Sacraments at least once in a while. It is to be noted that the Jesuits were working in Bengal from 1549 until the Society was suppressed in 1773. But when the Society was restored in 1814 it had no sufficient priests. Gradually, the number of Catholics in Balasore diminished as most of the Portuguese had left for other places like Calcutta for better fortune. It is said that during those days there was a pretty good landed property in Balasore, and a well furnished Catholic Church. However, during the latter part of the 18th century, the number of Catholics in Balasore decreased futher in such a manner that in 1832 when a Priest visited Balasore, he got so disappointed that he closed down the Church and entrusted the church and its property to the local Zemindar for safe custody. From 1832 till 1864, for more than 30 years, the few Catholics that remained in Balasore had to remain without any care or a visit from any priest.

    In the year 1864, Fr. Delpelchin, S.J., the Superior of Bengal Jesuit Mission had made a visit to Balasore and there he found a few Catholics who had no visit from any priest for the last several years. He returned to Calcutta with firm determination to help the faithful and appointed Fr. Sappart, SJ, as resident priest of Balasore in 1865. On reaching Balasore, Fr. Sappart, SJ had tried in vain to get back the church and the landed property entrusted to the Zemindar earlier on safe custody. Hence, Fr. Sappart, SJ had purchased another land in Balasore which comprises the present Church, Convent and Balasore Social Service Society compounds. In 1866 against all opposition and criticisms even from the Superiors, Fr. Sappart, SJ was found building a fine Catholic Church in Balasore which came to be known as ‘ Lal Girja’ which was dedicated to St. Joseph. It was during that period in 1866 that the Great Orissa Famine took place causing many starvation deaths and rendering many orphans. Fr. Sappart, SJ in his magnanimity had opened in Balasore a Founding Home beginning with 6 orphans, which in due course grew considerably. In 1868, the Daughters of the Cross arrived in Balasore, opened a Convent and took charge of the foundling Home. Those Sisters were in Balasore until 1938 when, at the arrival of the Dominican Fathers from Malta to Balasore, they left for Darjeeling. As per records, Fr. Sappart, SJ was in Balasore for 10 years from 1865 till 1876. Fr. Sappart SJ was considered as the Pioneer Missionary of Balasore. During those days, he got a co-worker in the person of Fr. L’Hermitte SJ who started working among the people of Mayurbhanj. He had noticed that at that period many tribals of Mayurbhanj were deported to Assam tea gardens as bonded labourers. Fr. L’Hermitte thought about working for the upliftment and rehabilitation of those unfortunates. In the mean time those boys from the Foundling Home who were able to study were taken to St. Antony’s Orphanage, 19 Market Street, Calcutta, and the girls to Morapai in 24 Parganas for their education. In course of time those orphans had to be rehabilitated too. With all these in mind, Fr. L’Hermitte had an interview with the Diwan and Maharaja of Baripada and on 24th October 1877, he managed to get 100 Bighas of jungle land in Krishnachandrapur along the Baripada-Balasore road for the establishment of a station and to rehabilitate people. The Majaraja of Baripada leased out the land to Fr. L’Hermitte thus: “For the first 10 years no rent at all. Thereafter an annual rent will have to be paid which will be but half the usual rent”. Thus allotted land comprises the present site of the Christian village of Krishnachandrapur and the church compound there. Most of the land was given out to the rehabilitated orphan families at Krishnachandrapur. It was Fr. L’Hermitte who, during his Mission Expeditions in 1879, found some Christians living near Nilgiri mountains in the village Kuarpur-Mitrapur. He began to take care of them. Records have it that Fr. L’Hermitte was in Balasore until 1890.

    From the year 1880 till 1937, we see many Jesuit Fathers like Shaff, Fiergus, Gengler, A. Ville, Vrithoff, etc working in Balasore, Krishnachandrapur and Mitrapur. In the year 1889, a Christian Community of rehabilitated orphans was established in Krishnachandrapur, Mayurbhanj District. In the year 1895, the present church of Krishnahcnadrapur was built and inaugurated. In the year 1915, the Daughters of St. Joseph of Chambery arrived and opened a School and Convent at Balasore which was functioning until 1938 when, at the arrival of the Malteese Dominicans in Balasore, those Sisters went back to Kharagpur and together with them their school too. It is said that the present Sacred Heart School at Kharangpur is the re-established School of Balasore. 1938 to 1940 is recorded as the sad period of 2 years in the history of Balasore Church. Archbishop Ferdinand Perrier SJ of Calcutta welcomed the Malteese Domincans and entrusted to them the care and development of Balasore region. Frs. Gabriel OP and Jordan OP arrived and took charge of Balasore in 1938. Later during the year 4 more priests came and 2 Brothers to join the team. However, they could not adjust themselves to the poverty of the people. Malaria fever, misunderstanding with the people and the then prevailing war conditions, etc., caused them to be called back to Malta in 1940, never to return to Balasore. It was during those periods in 1940 that due to an earthquake the beautiful Gothic ‘Lal Girja’ built by Fr. Sapport SJ was destroyed. With the permission of the Archbishop Ferdinand Perrier there was an attempt to rebuild the Lal Gurja it but they could never do it. It was rebuilt only in the year 1970. From the time the Dominicans left for Malta in 1940 till 1948 once again Balasore region did not have any resident priest. Instead it was looked after by priests from Kharagpur.

    In the year 1948, Fr. Joseph Viziak SJ was appointed to Balasore but he remained at Krishnachandrapur for the reason that there was a bigger Christian community and an established church there. From Krishnachandrapur, Fr. Viziak was regularly attending Balasore and Mitrapur, most of the time travelling on bicycle. During the time of Fr. Viziak in Krishnachandrapur, the Sisters of St. Anne of Calcutta had established a Convent in Krishnachandrapur, but in 1965 when Krishnachandrapur began to be served by the Diocesan Priests from Cuttack, those Sisters left the place and went back to Calcutta.

    Inspired by the Decree of the II Vatican Council, Archbishop Albert D’Souza of Calcutta considered it better that Balasore, Krishnachandrapur and Barbil, that are part of Orissa and inhabited by Oriya speaking people, should be ministered by Oriya speaking priests. Accepting this suggestion, Bishop Paul Tobar, C.M. of the Diocese of Cuttack took up to minister those three stations through his diocesan priests. Thus in the year 1965, Fr. Anselm Biswal was appointed Parish Priest of Balasore, Fr. Antony Attully as Parish Priest of Krishanchandrapur and Fr. Manuel Richard as Parish Priest of Barbil. Those 3 parishes remained still with Calcutta Archdiocese while those priests ministering them were as if lent to Calcutta and maintained by the Archbishop of Calcutta. In this connection, it is to be noted that Barbil in Keonjhar District, Orissa had the particular Ethnic Groups of Christians like Oraons, Mundas and Kharias from Chotnagpur, Ranchi, who came there as immigrant to work in the mines of Bolani and Joda. It is they who constituted the bulk of Christians in Barbil parish. It is said that the first group of Chotanagpur Christians who came to work in the mines got settled in Guruda village which is presently under Joda parish. Previously Joda was a sub-station of Barbil parish. Being a mining area and a prospective area for Evangelization, with the intention of establishing a Parish there, Archbishop Albert D’Souza of Calcutta had purchased a vast plot of land and bunglows in Barbil through his Vicar General Fr. Eric Barber from Mrs. & Mr. Figrades, a French couple. The land and Bungalows thus acquired in Barbil constitute the present St. Mary’s Mission complex in Barbil.

    Two Irish ladies, both spinster sisters, Miss Agnes Underwood and Miss Gertrude Underwood, who had vast plots of lands both at Chandipur and Balasore and were living in a fine Bungalow along the O.T. Road, Balasore. By their last will dated 27th January 1967 they donated their landed properties and Bungalow to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Berhampur, Ganjam District, for charitable works. Accepting the offer in Registered Deeds through Fr. Valerian Guemes of Happy Memory on 2nd May 1967, four Daughters of Charity (DC) Sisters from Berhampur came and opened a House at Balasore with the name “St. Vincent’s Charity Centre, Woodlands”. This is the present site of the D.C. Sisters House at Balasore and the very first convent established in the Diocese of Balasore.

    It is to be noted that all through the Pre-Prefecture period of Balasore History, the main thrust was for the consolidation of the then existing Christian communities at Balasore, Krishnachandrapur and Barbil centres rather than expansion works. With this we enter into the second stage of the History of Balasore Church the Prefecture Period from 1968-1990.

    On 14th June 1968, the three civil Districts of Balasore, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar of Orissa State were bifurcated from the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Calcutta and a New Ecclesiastical Unit “Apostolic Prefecture of Balasore” was formed, and the same was entrusted to the care of the Congregation of the Mission (C.M. or Vincentians) with Msgr. Jacob Vadakeveetil, C.M., as its first Apostolic Administrator. The new Administrator took charge on 18th November 1968. With this memorable event, the second stage of the History of Catholicism in Balasore unit began, which in fact was the beginning of the growth and expansion of the Catholic Christianity in Balasore, North-East Orissa.

    A vast stretch of 28,000 sq. kms of land inhabited by more than 70 lakhs of people, of different castes, tribes and languages were entrusted to Msgr. Jacob to evangelize. With just 5 priests as his first troop to conquer for Christ more than 70 lakhs of people spread out in 28,000 sq. kms of land, Msgr. Jacob was bewildered except for his strong will power and full reliance on God.

    Just 5 priests to cater to the needs of 2,500 Catholics in the three existed stations of Balasore, Krishnachandrapur and Barbil to evangelize more than 70 lakhs who have not yet heard the Word of God; 4 D.C. Sisters living in one Convent running a small dispensary along the O.T. Road, Balasore; one primary English Medium School and a primary Hindi Medium School at Barbil were all the assets the new Prefecture had in 1968. Evangelization of the non-Christians and expansion of the church were taken as the main concern and priority of action by the new Prefecture. A very vast area to Evangelize; people of different ethnic groups, culture and languages; very limited number of Evangelizers; want of resources; lack of conveyance facilities; all these were problems that Msgr. Jacob and his team had to face with.

    Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar were backward Districts and declared as predominantly tribal among whom are Santhals, Hos, Bhumijos, Mundas, Kharias and Oraons. Apart from the tribals, the Prefecture has a good number of Dalits among whom are Dombos, Panos, Khondras, Dhobas, Thonthis etc. With a very limited number of personnel and means at disposal, putting all trust in God the new team started working among the tribals first. No Catechists were available who knew the rudiments of Catholicism who could clear the path for the priests’ entry among these tribals. To make up for it, trial was made to bring few experienced catechists from Phulbani District (Present Kondhomal) South Orissa, to give a push in Evangelization. Thus came Narcis Pradhan of Padangi and Thomas Parichha of Alanjury. However, this proved very unsuccessful for the reason that those catechists from South Orissa were alien to the language and customs and manners of the local Tribals. As those catechists did not know the tribal language and customs of the people, they were not accepted by the local tribals as their own people for any sincere sharing. Hence, giving up the idea, fresh attempt was made to form the local catechists with all their limitations. Thus came to the scene some enthusiastic like Vimal Giri of Hatighar, Pratap Das of Kundupur, Narendra Kisku of Rangiam and Daniel Beshra of Kusudia who were once Baptist Christians. Those new Catechists, perhaps out of over-enthusiasm to win over people for Christ used lucrative methods, promising earthly benefits to those who embrace Catholicism which proved very harmful to the Church in later times. It is worth mentioning that a certain Lokmidha Bhakta of Balasore, who himself was a Baptist Pastor helped the new team to get into the tribal belt of Kusudia where he was having problems with the tribal versus non-tribal Baptist Christians in his Church at Kusudia. At the same time, he in his goodness did not want those tribal Christians to go away from Christ. So, he introduced those tribal Baptist Christians of Kusudia church to Msgr. Jacob Vadakeveetil, C.M. and allowed them to be enrolled as Catholics. This was the beginning of Catholicism in Kusudia.

    Besides the Daughters of Charity (D.C) who were already in Balasore, men and women Religious from different Religious Congregations were invited to come and work in the Prefecture. Thus came Sisters of SABS in 1969, SAB in 1970, CMC in 1971, SVC in 1979, MC Brothers in 1985 and UMI Sisters in 1988 for the first time to the Apostolic Prefecture of Balasore.

    Both the direct and indirect method of evangelization were tried. People were contacted in villages and market places introducing Christ and Christianity to them. Wherever possible Health Centres and Mobile Clinics were opened, low cost hostels for the education of poor children were started, social development programmes were launched. All these attracted people in large numbers, inspired by the De Moduler Method of Mass Conversion; people, especially the tribals, began to be received into the Faith in large numbers in many centres and were hastily baptized with the hope that follow-up will be duly done. Thus by the year 1978, within 10 years of its existence, Balasore Prefecture had as many as 14,000 Catholic from among the Santhal Oraons, Kondas and Bhumijos in centres like Hatigarh (1973), Rangiam (1973), Kusudia (1974), Baghmara (1974), Amarda Road (1975), Jaleswar (1975), Joda (1979), Kalkasole (1983), Garhdeulia (1986), Ghatiduba (1987), Lavanyadeipur (1987) etc. As the Fathers were very few in number; having no proper catechists, being busy with building up centres and guiding developmental programmes, the expected follow-up in catechizing the neophytes properly could not be done effectively, so much so that by the year 1989 a good number of the total baptized were fallen back to their old ways in many Centres.

    While the direct method of evangelization of preaching, catechizing administering sacraments etc. were carried out by the priests and catechists, with the help of the Religious Brothers and Sisters from the various Religious Congregations, many indirect methods of evangelization were carried out in the Prefecture. Schools both English Medium - (Barbil – 1969), (Baripada-1970), (Keonjhar-1971), (Joda-1971), (Balasore-1974), (Jaleswar-1981), (Karanjia-1988) - and Vernacular (Barbil-1969), (Krishnachandrapur-1971), (Baghmara-1989) (Ghatiduba) were opened. Low Cost Hostels to facilitate education of the poor boys in Krishnachandrapur (1977), Barbil (1971), Hatigarh (1973), Kusudia (1976), Jaleswar (1977), Rangiam (1977), Mitrapur (1978), Baghmara (1979), Joda (1984) and Amarda Road (1987) were opened. For the girls in Krishnachandrapur (1971), Barbil (1971), Kusudia (1976), Hatigarh (1978), Jaleswar (1983), Rangiam (1984), Mitrapur (1985) were started. Health Centres were opened at Krishnachandrapur (1970), Barbil (1970), Kusudia (1975), Hatigarh (1975), Jaleswar (1979), Rangiam (1981), Mitrapur (1982), Garhdeulia (1986), Baghmara (1987) and the Sisters began to move into out-reach villages with Mobile Health Clinics. All these have made at least the presence of the Catholic Church felt in the north-eastern part of Orissa.

    Though in the early stage of the Mission, all attention was centered around the Santhals and the Bhumijos of Mayurbhanj and Balasore Districts, from the year 1985 fresh attempts were made to evangelize the Ho and the Munda communities that were until then untouched. In the year 1985 contacts were made from Krishnachandrapur by Fr. Bimol Joseph Singh, C.M. to Sarat region under Kaptipada Sub-Division and result was very responsive and encouraging. In the year 1987, a Mission Centre was opened at Lavanyadeipur (Sarat) for the welfare of the Hos and in fact that made considerable progress in the field of evangelization as well as in developmental activities.

    To promote local vocation to Priesthood, an Apostolic School was opened at Keonjhar in 1978 with 11 boys for High School studies in a private rented house from Mr. Ramwatar Sharma of Keonjhar town. However, due to environmental problems that school had to be shifted from the private house to the down floor of Nirmala Convent School, Keonjhar, just after one year. Due to reasons beyond control that Apostolic School had altogether to be closed down in 1981, shifting the boys back to the other existing hostels in the Prefecture. In 1988 when moderate accommodation was ready in Keonjhar, the Apostolic School got its re-birth as a full-fledged Minor Seminary with a name “Debo Dutho Sadan”. Jyoti Nivas, the Vincentian Minor Seminary was started in a rented house at Baripada in 1978 with 12 students but that was shifted to the permanent building at Madhuban in 1979. Similarly, to train young Sisters to work in the Mission in a Mission environment and the local culture, an Aspirantate for young girls wishing to become SABS Sisters was started in Garhdeulia in 1986. As the formation of Lay-catechists was a very felt need of the Prefecture, a one-year training for the Catechists was introduced in Rangiam under the guidance of the veteran and experienced missionary Fr. Fausto Gregorio, C.M. Thirty catechists in 2 batches were trained in 1975 and 1976.

    Within 22 years, Balasore as a Prefecture Apostolic from 1968-1990 had indeed made considerable progress in all fields. 2,500 Catholics that had existed in 1968 in three centres of Balasore, Krishnachandrapur and Barbil had increased to more than 14,000 in 17 Stations. The Prefecture that had started with 5 Priests in 1968 had made rapid strides for having priests. It had its first diocesan Priest ordained in 1971 in the person of Fr. Joseph Kollappallil who unfortunately slept in the Lord after three years in 1974. Till 1990 the Prefecture had 16 diocesan priests and 14 Religious (CM) Priests working in the Prefecture of Balasore. In 1968, the Prefecture that was craving for a single Catechist had 30 of them in 1990 to assist the Priests in the work of Evangelization. The Prefecture that had started with 4 Sisters in a single convent from a single Congregation (DC), running a very moderate dispensary had as many as 95 Sisters from 6 different Congregations living in 19 Convents serving 7 English Medium and 3 Vernacular Medium Schools, running 7 hostels for poor girls, running 10 Health Centres and several outreach village Mobile Clinics, 3 Homes for the Aged, 1 Health Workers’ Training Centre, 1 Rehabilitation Centre for the girl children of the lepers and 1 Grihini School. It also had 4 M.C. Brothers living in a community at Raghunathpur, Baripada, conducting a free clinic for T.B. patients and 10 parishes running low cost hostels for poor boys facilitating their education even up to the University level in 1990. The English and Vernacular Medium Schools and the Hostels for the boys and girls facilitating their education play a big role in the work of Evangelization as in all these schools and hostels Moral-cum-Value-cum-Religious instructions are imparted to all students irrespective of caste or creed.

    To be brief, the progress that Balasore Prefecture had made within 22 years of its existence had been remarkable. It is in recognition of it all perhaps that at the resignation of Msgr. Jacob Vadakeveetil, C.M. due to health reasons in 1989 as Apostolic Administrator, that on 13th January 1990, the Prefecture was raised to the status of a Diocese and Thomas Thiruthalil, C.M. till then the Bishop of Berhampur Diocese, was appointed the First Bishop of Balasore. He took charge of the diocese on 14th of February 1990. With that memorable event the third and the present stage of the History of Balasore began.

  3. THE DIOCESE OF BALASORE (1990-2015)
    In spite of all the commendable growth of Balasore Prefecture made in all the fields during the span of 22 years from 1968 till 1990, it still remained a Prefecture Apostolic, craving to be promoted to the rank of a full-fledged diocese. Many a well intentioned Faithful began to comment in private that God loves much but He waits too long. Yes, God loves indeed but He patiently waits too and does the right thing at the right time. That was exactly what has happened with Balasore Prefecture. As the fulfillment of a long cherished noble aspiration of the people on January 13, 1990, the 22 years old matured Prefecture Apostolic of Balasore was declared a full-fledged Catholic Diocese by the late Pope John Paul II, placing it under the Ecclesiastical province of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar and Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil, C.M. who, until then Bishop of Berhampur, was transferred and appointed as the First Bishop of the newly erected diocese of Balasore. Exactly one month later in the cool atmosphere of 14th February 1990, Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil, C.M. who had braved the diocese of Berhampur in its infancy and brought it to maturity within 16 years from 1974 to 1990 with all his experience and capabilities thus became the captain of the new Ship of Balasore that contained 14,000 Catholics, ministered by 30 Priests, 4 Religious Bothers, 95 Religious Sisters from 6 different Congregations and living in 19 Convents; 30 Catechists in 17 well established Parishes and Institutions lime, 7 English Medium and 3 Vernacular Medium Schools, 10 Boys and 7 Girls hostels, 10 Rural Health Centres, 3 Old Age Homes, 1 Rehabilitation Centre and 1 TB Asylum.

    Though much commendable progress has already been made in various fields down through the 22 years of its existence as a Prefecture, the New Diocese of Balasore remained still in need of more progress and developments in different fields. Though a man of innovative ideas and a visionary, Bishop Thomas preferred to follow the already existing traditions and to build up the diocese on the foundation laid by his Predecessor Msgr. Jacob Vadakeveetil, C.M. without haste but no delay. Bishop Thomas threw himself into hectic activities with the support of his teammates in the Ministry the Priests, the Brothers, the Sisters, the Catechists and the Lay Faithful. By carefully studying the files and the records, by consulting the individuals and groups, by visiting stations and institutions and by interacting with the people within a short time, Bishop had gained a clear picture of the diocese, its mechanisms and its people with all their aspirations. He envisaged that the new diocese can progress only with the integral development of its people who are generally marginalized from public amenities.

    Bishop Thomas left no stone unturned to thrive in the field of evangelization both through direct and indirect methods. Every effort was made to put things in a very systematic way and proceed. Through the already existing parishes and institutions and with the available persons like the Priests, the Brothers, the Sisters and the Catechists, he began to consolidate the existing Christian communities as well as to take the Gospel Message to the many more non-Christians brethren around who have not yet heard of the message of Salvation. For the efficient functioning of the Evangelization works in the diocese, the Priests’ Council and the different Commissions like, the Catechetical, Biblical, Liturgical, Family, Media Communications, Youth, etc. were set up. To get better cooperation, participation and involvement of the faithful in the life and activities the Parish Council and various Pious Associations like, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Marian Youth, Maria Sangho, Holy Childhood, Youth Organisations etc were introduced in many parishes and Mission Stations. New parishes and stations like, Mangalpur in 1991, Keutunimari in 1993, Jhatiada in 1993, Kuruda in 1993, Joshipur in 1994, Anandapur in 1995, Bonuan in 1998, Kalidaspur in 1999, Bhadrak in 2000, Gangraj in 2003, Soro in 2005, Nuapadhi in 2007, Bagdafa in 2010, Chauhat in 2010, Udula in 2013 were established.

    To Form more ministers for the preaching of the Word of God in due course, the Apostolic School at Keonjhar was raised to the status of the Diocesan Minor Seminary which in course of time in 1993 was shifted to Kuruda where at present some 25 young men from different parts of the country are pursuing their studies towards priesthood. The post-Kuruda training for the Major Seminarians starts from Padanpur to Gopalpur or to Calcutta or to Sason or to Nagpur or to Mangalore or to Pune. It is worth noting that the first fruit of Kuruda Minor Seminary Training harvest was taken in 2000 when Sangram Murmu (the present Vicar General of Balasore) of Khuntapal village under Amarda Road parish was ordained priest by Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil. The Vincentian Minor Seminary at Baripada (Jyoti Nivas) is making much progress too in forming future C.M. Priests for Orissa and for the other States of India as well as for other countries too. In Garhdeulia-Betna the SABS Sisters have their Aspirantate in forming future Sisters for North India from among the North Indian girls. To take care of the sickly and aged priests of the diocese, Vianney Bhavan was established in Kuruda in 2012.

    All the while the indirect method of Gospel-cum-development method is carried out in full earnest by the Religious Brothers and Sisters chiefly through Education, Health, Vocational Trainings and other welfare activities. Bishop Thomas encourages more and more Religious Congregations of men and women to come and start Institutions within the diocese. Thus came: the H.M. Sisters in Lavanyadeipur (Sarat) in 1994, M.C. Sisters to Kuruda inn 1996, SABS Sisters to Bonua in 1998, Camelian Sisters to Kuruda in 1999, C.M.C. Sisters to Ichhapur (Bhadrak) in 2000, D.C. Sisters to Raghunathpur in 2000, S.D. Sisters to Kuruda in 1999, H.M. Sisters to Kalidaspur in 2002, M.C. Sisters to Gangraj in 2003, D.B.S. Sisters to Kalidaspur in 2003, C.H.F. (Holy Family) Sisters to Bhadrak in 2007, S.V.C. Sisters to Karanjia inn 2008, D.B.S. Sisters to Amarda Road in 2010, F.C.C. Sisters to Nuapadhi in 2012, D.S.T. Sisters to Kalidaspur in 2013, C.S.M. (St. Marthas) Sisters to Udala in 2013, C.S.T. Brothers to Raghunathpur in 1996, while in Soro in 2005 they started the I.T.I. with many trades like Electrician, Welder, Fitter, Draftsman etc. The Jesuit Fathers of Jamshedpur Province have opened a House and an English Medium School at Sankhabhanga village near Baripada in 2001 with a hostel run by the Sisters of St. Anne of Luzern. All these are in addition to what already existed as Stations, Institutions, and Communities before 1990.

    To ensure educational facilities to more and more children, a Vernacular Medium School was started in Ghatiduba in 1991, St. Vincent’s Oriya Medium School in Balasore in 1993, The Carmel Convent School in Bhadrak in 2000, St. Thomas Convent School at Kalidaspur in 2002, a Vernacular High School in Bonua in 2002, St. Mary’s Convent Schools in Raghunathpur in 2002, Seton Convent School at Hatigarh in 2003, De Paul English Medium School at Joshipur in 2004, Vikas Sadan Science College in Nuapadhi in 2007, Jyothi Convent School at Bhadrak in 2007, Dibya Jyoty Convent School at Sarbana near Betnoti in 2012, St. Mary’s Convent School at Mitrapur in 2013, St. Alphonsa’s School at Dubna in 2008, St. Joseph’s Convent School at Udala in 2013, St. Mary’s Convent School at Anandapur in 2014.

    Added to all these formal academic Schools, low cost hostel facilities are provided for the rural poor boys at Ghatiduba in 1991, Keutunimari in 1993, Garhdeulia in 1993, Keonjhar in 1994, Jhatiada in 1997, Lavanyadeipur (Sarat) in 1997, Joshipur in 1997, Kalidaspur in 1998, while for the Girls at Baghmara in 1991, Ghatiduba in 1991, Keutunimari in 1995, Lavanyadeipur in 1999 and in Garhdeulia in the year 1997. All these are in addition to what existed before 1990. These hostel facilities enable the rural children to attend public schools regularly and the schools in the rural areas to function properly with children attending them regularly. These are done in collaboration with the Education Policy of the Government. To ensure enlistment of all rural children in the formal Schools, in a preparatory measure several Balwadi are organized in remote villages of the diocese. To provide Education to the school dropouts, Non-formal schools and Adult Education Centres are set up in many villages. To coordinate child labour problems and the consequent illiteracy of the children a Liberation and Education of the child labourers programme was successfully taken up in Baghmara Centre under the auspices of Balasore Social Service Society (BSSS).

    To ensure health facilities to the rural poor, more and more centres and Mobile Clinics are opened by the Sisters at Ghatiduba in 1992 in Keutunimari in 1993, in Lavanyadeipur in 1994, in Bonuan in 1998, in Gangraj in 2003, in Amarda Road in 2010.

    To provide referral facilities to the rural health centres of Balasore Diocese came up the reputed Jyothi Hospital at Kuruda near Balasore established in 2000 by the Diocese with all modern equipments and facilities with the services of many renowned Doctors and Para-Medical staff in various departments.

    A house for the destitute children is established in Kuruda n the year 1997 under the care of the M.C. Sisters. Pratheeshalaya, a home for the mentally retarded children was established in Kuruda by the Daughters of St. Camillus (D.S.C.) in 2001, Jeevan Jyoti, a Home for the Physically challenged children was an old age home for the women is established in the year 2000 at Raghunathpur, Baripada by the Daughters of Charity Sisters under the auspices of S.V.P. National Council. A.lso the H.I.V. Care Centre is being established at Kuruda in 2014 under the charge of the D.C. Sisters. An elaborate Asylum for the T.B. patients at Raghunathpur managed by the M.C. Brother while one for the leprosy patients is established at Gangraj by the M.C. Sisters.

    To ensure cultural integration, Utkal Vani Kala Kendra is set up in Kalidaspur, Balasore in 1998 at which through classical music, Odishi and Folk dances and Dramas, Gospel messages are communicated. To ensure employment of the youth, an I.T.I. with different trades are made functional by the C.S.T. Brothers one at Raghunathpur, Baripada and anther at Soro in the years 2000 and 2005 respectively. To provide job opportunities for girls, a Nursing School with RNRM degree is established in Kuruda in 2006.

    For the well organized functioning of all developmental, welfare and emergency pogrammes in the diocese of Balasore, Balasore Social Service Society (BSSS) is registered and is well functioning at Vivekananda Marg, Balasore, from 2004. Disaster management, various types of livelihood programmes for the rural poor, linkage with government department etc. are given prime attention in the Social Service programmes of BSSS.

    In gratitude towards the C.M. Fathers who have done the pioneering works to make this diocese a reality, in 2007 a vibrant and large parish Hatigarh of the diocese of Balasore has been handed over to the Northern Province of the Congregation of the Mission for their exclusive management, administration and further development within the approved parish territory.

    On 6th September 2012, Balasore Diocese gratefully celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the Priestly Ordination of Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil, C.M., with much pomp and felicity. Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful in large number within the diocese and outside the diocese took part in the celebration and the function was made memorable.

    On retirement of Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil, C.M., from the bishopric of Balasore, Fr. Simon Kaipuram, C.M. of the North Indian Province f the Congregation of the Mission was appointed Bishop of Balasore on 9th December 2013. The Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Simon Kaipuram, C.M. took place at Balasore Cathedral premises on 30th January 2014. The Chief Consecrator was the Apostolic Nuncio Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio from New Delhi, and the Co-consecrators were Archbishop John Barwa, SVD of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar and Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil, C.M.. Archbishops, Bishops, large number of Priests, Brothers, Sisters and Lay Faithful from in and out of the diocese attended the Episcopal Ordination with great satisfaction and joy.

    The Diocese of Balasore celebrated its Silver Jubilee (1990-2015) on the 29th of January 2015 with much grandeur and solemnity after a year of spiritual preparation. Rich tributes were paid to the former missionaries, dead and alive, during the Eucharistic celebration as well as cultural programme, well attended by Archbishops, bishops, priests, religious and numerous lay faithful. The Diocese is now in the steering hands of a matured, energetic, enthusiastic and highly qualified Bishop Simon Kaipuram, C.M. Yes, he is the new Bishop of Balasore Diocese that is leaping towards further progress hoping for a still better tomorrow for the people for whose service he is committed to. Good Luck and God’s Blessings!!!





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