Diocese of Jabalpur
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The diocesan territory has a dimension of 52,980 square kilometers and is located in Central India.

Population

Tribals in the area are mostly tribals mostly Gonds.

Language

Hindi is the language spoken in the diocesan territory.

History

The first Roman Catholics arrived in Jabalpur in 1840 with the establishment of a military regiment in Jabalpur by the British East India Company, as the infamous Thugs frequently attacked them. One of the camps of the Thugs was in and around Jabalpur. Hence some English Officers with their Indian regiment, mostly the Tamils, came from their Cantonment at Kamptee to trace the Thugs and took several hundreds of them prisoners. From then on, a smaller regiment stayed on in Jabalpur and the Irish Secular Priests of Madras Vicariate that was established in 1834 started visiting them.

Until the erection of Visakhpatanam Vicariate, Kamptee was under Madras Vicariate. When Vishakpatanam erected a Vicariate in 1833, Kamptee came under Vishakapatanam. From the beginning, Jabalpur was an outstation of Kamptee and remained so until 1858, when Jabalpur became an independent station and received the first resident priest who was the military chaplain in Jabalpur. Thereafter the march towards radiating the light of Christ was a continuous process and that light has been spread into the various parts of Jabalpur diocese over the years that followed. From 1850's the MSFS Fathers served the Church in Jabalpur. Father Amedee Delalex was the first pairsh priest of SS. Peter & Paul Church, Jabalpur who served for 30 years until his death on July 10, 1889. Father Lavorel MSFS made the first attempt of evangelization of Mandla during 1859-1864. Sagar-Shampura-Bina stations were taken care of by the Italian Capucins till 1926 and thereafter by the Maltese Capucins till 1929, when they handed over the pastoral care of these stations to the Norbertines in December 1929. Jabalpur became a Prefecture Apostolic on July 18, 1932 and a diocese on July 5, 1954. From this time on, many priests of Indian origin started serving Jabalpur - the number of diocesan priests began to increase steadily and soon they had taken the lead.

Jabalpur diocese was blessed with four Bishops who lead this diocese through thick and thin. The pioneer Bishop Conrad Dubbelman O. Praem was among the first Norbertines who took over pastoral care and evangelization of Jabalpur and became the first and only Prefect Apostolic of Jabalpur in 1933 and in 1954 when Jabalpur was made a diocese, he became the first Bishop of Jabalpur. Bishop Leobard D'Souza, the second Bishop of Jabalpur was a 'Jabalpur boy' in all sense as he was brought up in Jabalpur, studied in St. Aloysius School and was ordained a priest for the diocese of Jabalpur. A Norbertine stalwart, Rt. Rev. Theophane O.Praem was chosen to be the third Bishop of Jabalpur in 1977 and on Bishop Theophane rendering his resignation due to his ill-health, Rt. Rev. Gerald Almeida was selected to be the fourth Bishop of Jabalpur.

Episcopal Consecration of Bishops
(1) Rt. Rev. C. Dubbelman O. Praem:
On Oct. 19, 1954, the Episcopal Consecration of the Bishop Elect, Rt. Rev. C. Dubbelman O. Praem of the Abbey of Berne, Holland, took place at Jabalpur. With the erection of Jabalpur as a diocese, Sts. Peter and Paul Church was declared the Cathedral Church and Sts. Peter & Paul were declared the patron saints of Jabalpur diocese. Thus the first Church in Jabalpur has become the Cathedral Church.

(2) Rt. Rev. Leobard D'Souza:
With the acceptance of the resignation of Bishop Dubbelman as the Bishop of Jabalpur, Mgr. Leobard D'Souza, the then Coadjutor Bishop, became the Bishop of Jabalpur from Jan. 8, 1966. On Feb. 18, 1966, he was formally installed at the Bishop of Jabalpur. He is the second Bishop of Jabalpur and its first Indian Bishop. It is during his stewardship that Mission Stations were opened in the headquarters of Damoh, Narsinghpur and Shahdol civil districts. He shepherded this diocese until September 1975, when he was transferred as Archbishop of Nagpur.

(3) Rt. Rev. Theophane M. Thannickunnel, O. Praem:

Rt. Rev. Theophane Mathew Thannickunnel O. Praem is the third Bishop of Jabalpur and the first Indian Norbertine Bishop. He was consecrated a Bishop on March 31, 1977 by Archbishop Eugene D'Souza of Nagpur and Bishop Joseph Pallikaparampil, the then Auxiliary Bishop of Palai. The long tenure of Bishop Theophane was marked with the opening of new Mission Stations and parishes. Some of the Mission Centres were opened in new places and others were erected by dividing the existing Mission Stations and Parishes. This move of Bishop Theophane accelerated the missionary enthusiasm and all could witness an unprecedented growth of the diocese. Jabalpur diocese had been fortunate to be under the stewardship of Bishop Theophane for over a period of 24 years.

 

Transportation

Rail, Road and air.

Economy

Agriculture is the predominant industry in the area of the diocese.

Interreligious marriage, India's main concern at Synod

Interreligious marriage, India's main concern at Synod Although other countries might not share the pastoral difficulties caused by interreligious marriages, Indian priests observed that “this is a big issue in Asia because we are a minority.”