With a land area of 32,860 square kilometers, the diocese covers the districts of Bareilly, Shahjahanpur and Pilibhit in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and Almora, Bageshwar, Champavat, Nainital, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand.
Bareilly, Nainital and Pilibhit are the biggest towns in the diocese.
Hindi, Punjabi, English, Urdu, Kumaoni are the main languages used.
The Catholic Mission in northern India began with the arrival of Jesuit Missionaries in Fatehpur Sikri in the year 1580, at the invitation of Mughal Emperor Akbar. In 1601, they established a headquarter at Agra. By 1619, the Jesuits had gone into Rajasthan, but the ruler there did not encourage the Christian message to spread. The Jesuit missionaries were invited to Patna in 1620. There were a few Catholic Portuguese soldiers in the army. A Church was built and the foundation for a Catholic community was laid. When Capuchin Missionaries arrived in Patna in 1706 on their way to Tibet, they found about 150 Catholics.
When Rome suppressed the Jesuits in 1773, two Carmelite Fathers from Bombay succeeded them in Agra, who in turn were replaced by Capuchins. The Capuchins labored from then for the spread of the faith and the progress of the Catholic Church in northern India. The year 1885 marks the beginning of the long process of divisions and sub-divisions of the Tibet-Hindustan region, which led to the creation of not less than thirty ecclesiastical units.
On Jan. 19, 1989, Pope John Paul II announced the erection of the new Diocese of Bareilly, taking territory from the Diocese of Lucknow. The Church of St Alphonsus was made its Cathedral. The diocese is a suffragan of Agra Archdiocese.
On the same day he erected the diocese, the Holy Father appointed Father Anthony Fernandes, Vicar General of Varanasi, as its first bishop.
The diocesan territory originally comprised six districts of Uttar Pradesh, but the division of that state in 2000 to create the new state of Uttarakhand left the diocese straddling the two states. Following further civil subdivisions, Bareilly now covers nine districts.
Cities are managed by corporations. Villages and small towns are administered by panchayat and municipalities, respectively. These local bodies are elected.
The diocesan area is well connected by roads and railways. The nearest airport is in New Delhi.
Annual per capita income is 11, 318 rupees (US$249 as of January 2011). Agriculture is the main occupation in the diocesan area. Sugar cane, wheat, rice, pulses and vegetables are widely grown.
Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities. The diocese is well covered by local cable TV networks.
54.98 percent literacy rate