According to the decree of Pope John Paul II the Diocese of Purnea consists of the Northern portion of Dumka diocese, beyond the river Ganges, viz. the four civil districts of Purnea Araria, Katihar, and Kishanganj of Bihar State, covering an area of 15,733.4 square kilometers. The diocesan territory consists of the flat alluvial bed of the Kosi river, the River of Sorrows.
The Diocese of Purnea was born from Dumka through a declaration of Pope John II on Aug. 11, 1998. Its history can be traced back to almost 240 years. Records show that in 1773 Purnea district of that time was already forming part of the Vicariate of the Great Moghul, which was served by the Jesuits and later by the Carmelites. Subsequently Rome attached Purnea to the neighbouring prefecture of Tibet under the Capuchins, with Patna as its headquarter. In 1820, it became part of the Agra Vicariate. When Patna Vicariate was created on Feb. 7, 1845 Purnea became part of it under the Capuchins.
The total population in the diocesan territory is 6,800,010 as of Deember 2008. Major Towns are Purnea, Katihar, Kishanganj, and Araria. The majority of the local people can be identified as caste groups (high castes, Other Backward Castes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes). Others include Bengalis, South Indians, and the Muslim religious group. The vast majority of Christians of the region are Santhals, Oraons and Mundas.
Languages spoken in the diocese are Hindi, Bangla, Santhali, Mundari and Oraon. Dialects in use are Surjapur, Polia, Angika and Maithli.
Purnea Bhagalpur diocesan territory falls within Bihar and Jharkhand states, within the federal Republic of India under a written constitution headed by the President of the country. The judicial, executive and legislative powers are vested in the people-elected representatives of the central and state governments. The members of the majority party form governments at the centre and in the states.
The districts are administered by district magistrates, appointed by the government, whose sub-ordinates in blocks or anchals are called Development Officers or anchal adhikaris. They collect revenue and coordinate all developmental works. The latter form the base of the pyramid of administration. Now local governance under the Panchayat Raj system is introduced wherein elected representatives of the panchayats monitor development works of the village.
However, all policy decisions are made by the executive body of a cabinet of ministers headed by the Chief Minister. Political parties play a significant role in the work of administration of the state.
Road, Rail and River are the routes of transport.
The per capita income is Rs. 4,435/ (US$90.75) as of September 2009.
Sugar production is a major industry. Among agriculture, paddy, maize, jute, wheat, moong, masoor, mustard, linseed, sugar cane and potato are the main crops cultivated.
All India Radio Purnea (AIR Purnea/ Akashvani Purnea)
The literacy rate in the diocesan territory is 28.52% (Female: 19.88% Male: 42.64%).
Santhal, Oraon, and Munda tribal music, songs and dances among the Catholics. Purnea is famous for spreading out Ramakrishna Mission, the spirit of a philanthropic, volunteer organization founded by Sri Ramakrishna's chief disciple Swami Vivekananda on May 1, 1897. The Mission conducts extensive work in health care, disaster relief, rural management, tribal welfare, elementary and higher education and culture. It uses the combined efforts of hundreds of ordered monks and thousands of householder disciples.]