Diocese of Indore
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The diocesan territory covers a land area of 19,073 square kilometers with a population of 4,496,287. It comprises the districts of Indore, Khargone, Khandwa, Dhar, Jhabua (except Tahsil of Thandla), Ratlam, Dewas, Ujjain, Shajapur, Rajgah, Bhilsa (Vidisha) Hoshangabad and the whole of Bhopal State. The catholic population of the diocese as on December 2008 is 19,319.

Language

Ethnic groups in the territory include Maharahstrians, Gujarathis, Malayalees, Marwaris, Tamils and Telugus. Most of the people speak Hindi, Malwi, Bhili and Bhilali but there are a considerable number of people who speak English, Marathi and Gujarathi.

History

On March 3, 1931, the Mission territory of Indore was formed by extracting some territories from the Diocese of Ajmer, Allahabad and Nagpur and was officially assigned to the Society of the Divine Word. The territory then covered 110,000 square kilometers comprising the districts of Indore, Khargone, Dhar, Jhabua (except the Tehsil of Thandla), Ratlam, Ujjain, Dewas, Shajapur, Rajgarh, Bhilsa, Vidisha, the whole of Bhopal State and the districts of Khandwa and Hoshangabad. The first Divine Word Fathers, Father Peter Janser who was appointed superior of the Mission, and Father Leo Krezeminski arrived in Indore on Nov. 4, 1932.

By the Decree "Salutis Animarum" of the Collegio di Propaganda Fide, dated March 11, 1935, the Indore Mission was elevated to a Prefecture Apostolic and Msgr. Peter Janser was appointed the first Prefect Apostolic. Under his leadership the Mission made considerable progress.

By the decree "Quae Christianum" the diocese of Indore was erected on May 15, 1952. Msgr. Francis Simons, SVD was appointed as its first Bishop. Bishop Francis Simons, as soon as he became the Bishop of Indore, took over missionary and pastoral care of the vast mission area. During his tenure he established many new stations. With his foresight he purchased land in many places, especially cities, like Bhopal, Ujjain, Dewas, Hoshangabad, etc. which later became centers of major missions in the region.

The districts of Ujjain, Shajapur and Raigarh were separated from the Diocese of Indore and the Exarchate (later Diocese) of Ujjain was established in 1968.

The two civil districts of Khandwa and Khargone were separated from Indore Diocese and the Diocese of Khandwa was erected on February 3, 1977.

By the Decree of the Sacred Congregation for Evangelization of peoples, dated March 11, 1981, the district of Mandsaur was transferred from the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Ajmer to that of the Diocese of Indore.

By the decree of His Holiness Pope John Paul II "Ad perpetuam rei memoriam" dated 1st March 2002, the diocese of Jhabua was erected separating the districts of Jhabua, Ratlam, Mandsaur, Neemuch and the Tahshil of Sardarpur from Dhar district from the diocese of Indore. At present the diocese of Indore has three civil districts of Indore, Dewas and Dhar except the Tahshil of Sardarpur.

Economy

The territory has petrochemical, automobile, dairy, garment manufacturing, agriculture, hotel and information technology industries. Indore is the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh.

Education

The local literacy rate is 83 percent.

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