Archdiocese of Ranchi
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In a land area of 5,299 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers two civil districts: Ranchi and Lohardaga.

Population

The population in the archdiocese is 2,913,111 according to Census 2001. (The population of the whole country is almost 1,2 billion). Major tribal groups are Munda, Oraon, Kharia, Gond, Chick-Baraik, Gorait, Karmali, Lohra, Mahli, Asur, Birhor and Birjia. Birhors are the Hunter-gatherer primitive tribe. Mahli, Lohra, Karmali and Chik Baraik are simple artisans. Munda, Oraon, Kharia, and Gond are settled agriculturists.

Language

Languages used in the diocesan territory are Hindi, Sadri, Mundari, Kurukh, Kharia, Kurmali, Khortha and English.

History

The Archdiocese of Ranchi comprises the civil District of Ranchi (minus Khunti Subdivision) and the District of Lohardaga.

The first Belgian Jesuit to enter Chotanagpur was Father Auguste Stockman. He traveled by a bullock cart from Midnapur and after a difficult journey of a fortnight he reached Chaibasa (now in the Diocese of Jamshedpur) on Nov. 25, 1868 for a brief visit. He settled down at Chaibasa on July 10, 1869. The first Munda converts were baptized on Nov. 8, 1873. His work among the Ho tribe did not yield results, so he moved towards the Ranchi District in January 1875. Other Belgian Jesuits came to Ranchi in 1877 to act as military chaplains to the troops at Doranda (Ranchi). As the prospects of evangelization among the tribals of Chotanagpur were bright, the first mission stations were opened among the Mundas. However, the real impetus came from Father Constant Lievens, who arrived at Doranda on March 18, 1885. He is often called Apostle of Chotanagpur.

To assist the missionaries, the Irish Loreto Sisters from Calcutta opened a Convent at Purulia Road, Ranchi. It was here that the Daughters of St. Anne, a Diocesan Congregation had their beginning in 1897. The Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, Belgium replaced the Loreto nuns in the same compound in 1903.

By 1927 the Ranchi Mission had developed to such an extent that by decree of the Holy See, dated May 25, 1927, it was separated from the Calcutta Archdiocese to form a new Diocese with Ranchi as its Episcopal seat and Msgr. Louis Van Hoeck as the first bishop. He was succeeded by Father O. Sevrin in 1934, who was pastor for 18 years (1934-1952).

As the faith spread and took firm root in Chotanagpur, the Catholic Church was being built up and developed, especially through parishes and schools. Soon the rapid growth of the mission made it imperative to call in other labourers, the S.V.D. Fathers, the Australian and American Jesuits, etc. For better pastoral care o

Political

Ranchi archdiocese has two parliamentary constituencies - Ranchi and Lohardaga. Presently Ranchi constituency is with Congress and Lohardaga with BJP. The Archdiocese has seven state assembly constituencies - Ranchi, Kanke, Hatia, Khijri, Silly, Mandar, and Lohardaga.

Transportation

Infrastructure facilities are not very satisfactory.

There are trains, road transport and Air transport facilities, but they still have to improve.

Economy

The per capital income in the diocesan territory is Rs. 14,990 (about US$313 as of July 2, 2009).

The only Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) of India is in Ranchi. Besides, there are several industries, such as Agriculture and Agro Equipment, Aluminium, Copper, Chemicals & Allied Products, Construction & Mining Equipment, Electrical Equipment & Appliances, Electronics, Instrumentation & Telecommunication, Food Processing, Furniture, Building Interiors & Accessories, Herbals, Cosmetics, Industrial machinery & equipment, Industrial Supplies, Iron & Steel, Machine Shops & Fabricators, Mines & Minerals, Paints & Varnishes, Pharmaceuticals & Drugs, Plastics & Rubber, Power and Rolling Mills.

Telecommunication

Cell phone services of different service providers are growing fast, but have still to reach Maoist affected interior areas and forests.

There is one TV broadcasting station - Doordarshan - and one radio station - Akashwani - in the territory of Ranchi Archdiocese. Also a few private FM radio stations are there.

Education

Infrastructure facilities of the education sector are much better. There is a sufficient number of schools.

In the cities school buses run. In the villages students walk or cycle to school. An average literacy rate of 74% is recorded in Ranchi city.

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.”