Mission of the Carmelite and Jesuits
The first Vicariate Apostolic of Bengal with its headquarter at Calcutta was established in 1834 with Msgr. Patrick Carew as the Vicar Apostolic. In 1840, the first missionary, Fr. Zubiburu, a Spanish Carmelite went to Koikhali, a small village along with Mr. Crow, the District Magistrate. He built a catholic community of 278 members. However, Fr. Zubiburu, could not continue his work owing to bad health and left the place.
The Belgian Jesuits came to Bengal in 1859. In 1868 at the invitation of Kala Chand (Stanislas), Fr. Goffinet S.J. went to a small village called Gokurni near Magra Hat. A few days later in July 1868, he baptized a little girl of six in Magra Hat which was the happy passage for the Christian community in 24 Parganas. From there Fr. Goffinet SJ went to Koikhali and resumed the missionary work started by Fr. Zubiburu, Under Msgr. Steins SJ. It was Father E. Delplace SJ the pioneer, who went around establishing five Mission Stations in four years such as Raghabpur, Morapai, Basanti,Khari and Baidyapur (1873-1877). In 1886 the Vicariate Apostolic became the Archdiocese of Calcutta.
The Yugoslav Jesuit Priests were invited to come to Bengal and to take charge of 24 Parganas District. That move marked the new beginning of the Sunderbans' Mission. They started new mission stations or re-opened old ones; they built churches and chapels and gradually injected new life in the existing Catholic communities. After the war, unfortunately, the doors were closed and no new missionaries could come in. Later the Belgian Jesuits and Indian priests took over the missions. The tenure of Archbishop V. Dyer (1960-1962) and Archbishop A. D'Souza (1962-1969) witnessed further bifurcations of the Archdiocese of Calcutta into the dioceses of Jamshedpur, Darjeeling and Dumka.
KAIKHALI CHAPEL 1868
Creation of the Diocese
By the Bull, Ad Supernam, Pope Paul VI created on 12 March 1978 the diocese of Baruipur, detaching from the Archdiocese of Calcutta the Southern and Central Portion of the civil district commonly known as the 24 Parganas and the civil territories called Thana. The boundaries of the diocese thus constituted is: to the East, Bangladesh; to the South, the Bay of Bengal; to the West, the river Hooghly and to the North, the limits of the following territories, commonly known as ‘Thana”, namely, Mahestala, Bishnupur, Bhangar, Haroa, Minakhan and Hansabad.
To provide more fittingly for the care of the souls, two other territories are joined to the new diocese viz. the southern part of Behela ‘thana’ of which the northern limit is Biren Roy Road anfd from the Tollygunj ‘thana’ a small piece of territory called ‘mouza’ Purbaputiary. The diocese of Baruipur is the suffragan of the Metropolitan See of Calcutta with its seat in the town of Baripur, where also is placed the Episcopal Cathedral.
Steady Growth of the Diocese since its Inception
Bishop Linus Nirmal Gomes was ordained as first Bishop of Baruipur Diocese on November 19, 1977. There were lots of developments in the diocese during his reign. To record few of them: three new parishes and 11 new institutions like Palli unnayan Samiti, convents, schools, Juniorate, postulants etc. Rt. Rev. Linus Nirmal Gomes SJ submitted his resignation to the Holy Father due to ill health after leading the diocese as the good shepherd for 18 years. Holy Father accepted his resignation with effect from October 31, 1995
Thereafter, Rev. Fr. Salvadore Lobo was elected the Administrator of the Diocese. He was later appointed the Bishop of Baruipur by the Holy See on November 14, 1997 and was ordained a Bishop on January 29, 1998. Under the leadership of Bishop Salvadore Lobo as a good shepherd, the diocese has strived to much greater heights and achievements. Past twenty years of his service has witnessed many milestones in the diocese. To mention few of them: 11 new parishes, 8 new convents, 7 new schools and 5 new institutions of different kinds have been established.
Present Geographic and Demographic Data
The diocese of Baruipur is situated in the South Eastern part of West Bengal (India) with lots of tidal rivers and clusters of islands. The diocese now comprises of South 24 Parganas District, part of North 24 Parganas District and a part of Kolkata Metropolis. These cover an area of 10, 568 square kilometers with a total population of 94, 45, 909 as per the census of 2011. The catholic Christian population currently is 62,847 as per the year 2018. The language spoken in the territory includes Bengali, English and Hindi.
BARUIPUR DIOCESE GETS A NEW COADJUTOR BISHOP
As requested by Most Rev. Salvadore Lobo, the bishop of Baruipur to have the assistance for the moderation of diocesan life, so that the people of God may expect richer and multiple fruit of the divine dispensation, His Holiness, Pope Francis made an announced of the appointment of Rev. Fr. Shyamal Bose as the Coadjutor Bishop of Baruipur Diocese on May 17, 2019.
Monday, June 24, 2019 will be forever etched in the annals of the Baruipur Diocese as a truly historic day. On this day, along with the celebration of the birth of St. John the Baptist, the faithful of Baruipur were privileged to welcome the birth of a new shepherd of the flock. In the presence of both, the first Shepherd Bishop Linus Nirmal Gomes s.j. and his successor, the present Bishop Salvadore Lobo as co-Consecrators, Rev. Fr. Shyamal Bose, an authentic son of the soil, was ordained Coadjutor Bishop of Baruipur by His Grace, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta.
The new Coadjutor Bishop, Shyamal Bose was born of Mr. Martin Bose and late Gita Bose on March 24, 1961, in Gosaba. His father Mr. Martin Bose, now frail and weak, was, in his heyday, one of the finest catechists of the Diocese. He is the fourth child of seven children. He joined St. John Mary Vianney's Minor Seminary, Barasat in 1981 and studied philosophy at Morning Star Regional Seminary, Barrackpore and theology at St. Albert's College, Ranchi. He was ordained priest for Baruipur diocese on May 5, 1991. As a priest of Baruipur, he served the Diocese at various capacities such as assistant parish priest, Keorapukur (1991-1994); Khari (1994-1996) and Parish Priest, Khari (1996-1998). He was the director of Palli Unnayan Samiti, the Diocesan Social Service Centre for eight years from 1998 -2006. He was the vicar general of the diocese during 2000-2008. He was parish priest of Sacred Heart Church, Thakurpukur from 2006-2008. He obtained Licentiate in Biblical Theology from St. Peter's Pontifical Institute, Bangalore in 2010. He was appointed director of the Regional Social Centre, Association of Bengal Collaborators for Development in 2011. He was then Parish priest of Kumrokhali parish from 2012-2016. At the time of his appointment announced on May 17, 2019 as the Coadjutor Bishop of Baruipur he was diocese's financial administrator, chancellor and Secretary of finance Committee.
The ordination ceremony was meticulously planned and spiritually elevating. All the Regional Bishops, along with a few of their brother bishops from Orissa and representatives of the Nuncio and Holy See graced the occasion. Nearly two hundred priests from all the neighbouring dioceses, together with five thousand faithful were present.
Many hands joined together to ensure that this would always remain a memorable occasion. Mention should especially be made of Frs Kanauj Roy and Tushar Augustine Gomes, who saw to it that the ceremony would proceed with clockwork precision, along with all the Sisters of the Holy Cross, in whose school premises the ceremony was held, and the mellifluous singing of the choir from the three parishes of Thakurpukur, Keorapukur and Sajnaberia, led by Sri Aritra Sen, one of our finest lay leaders.
A beautiful felicitation programme and joyful welcome to the new Bishop concluded a memorable and historic day.
RETIREMENT OF BISHOP SALVADORE LOBO
4 May 2020 was a day of mixed emotions for the faithful of Baruipur diocese. For on that day the retirement of His Excellency, Most Rev. Salvadore Lobo was announced by Holy Father, Pope Francis. It was a moment of sadness for many at the same time a moment of joy for the diocese to see a son of the soil, Most Rev. Shyamal Bose, succeeding him as the Bishop of Baruipur. It was a well planned succession of a local bishop.
Bishop Salvadore Lobo was born on 30 April 1945 in Mangalore Diocese, Karnataka. He was ordained priest on 19 March 1973 and served the diocese as parish priest, vicar General and the Administrator of the diocese before being appointed its bishop on 16 October 1997. He was ordained bishop on 29 January 1998. He was the Chairman of the CBCI office for Social Communications. He shepherded the diocese as bishop for 22 years.
In his tenure as bishop he always strived after fulfilling the demands of the time in the face of many adversities for the pastoral and steady growth of the diocese. In order to cater to the spiritual and temporal needs of the People of God, from the time he took over the pastoral leadership in 1995, few Quasi Parishes, a number of new parishes, several new churches, New Presbyteries and mission stations have been established, and old ones were extended and renovated. To mention a few: Sonarpur (1998), Ranigrah (1998), Salepur (2007); Sajnaberia (2000), Panchamkhanda (2003), Gangarampur (2000), Diamond Harbour (2001), Canning (2004), Bamanpukur (2017), Nazat (2015). Similarly, new Church and presbyteries were built, and many old ones were renovated and refurbished and upgraded. To place on record: Diamond Harbour (2009), Sobnamaskar and Panchamkhanda, Hogalkuria (2017) (2017), Basanti (2012) Thakurpukur (2016).
Many religious men and women have been invited to take up the challenges of the diocese. They are: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (SABS) Diamond Park (1996), the Carmelite of mother Carmel (CMC) Budge Budge (19980, Missionaries of Charity sisters, Kirtankhala (MC) (1999) and Gangarampur (2004), Daughters of the Cross ( FC) Gosaba (2000) and Baidyapur (2013), Daughters of St. Anne (DSA) Ranigrah (2000) and Kalikanan (2002), Holy Cross Convent (HCM) Bakeswar (2017), Sisters of Destitute, Canning (2018).
His educational endeavours was with the involvement of religious: K.E. Carmel School, Sarisha (2007), De Paul School, Canning ( 2008), St. Xavier’s Technical Institute, Basanti (CMI) (2009), St. Montfort Senior Secondary School, Balarampur, (2011), De Paul School, Jayanpur (2014), Bethany School, Thakurpukur (2015), Carmel English Medium school, Keorapukur (2015), St. Mary’s English Medium School, Kalyanpur (2015).
However, on a priority basis, the Pastoral Centre – Dishari - was built in 2007 to give an impetus to the pastoral activities in the diocese. The Cathedral was built for the diocese in 2009; to ensure healthy family Paribar Jyoti was established in 2004. To promote the local vocations a minor seminary was started in 2004 and named as Samarpan where 16 young men are studying now.
A Senior Clergy Home, named ASHA, was built in 2019 and equipped with many facilities for the retired priests to spend their retired life comfortably and with dignity. They really deserve these facilities as they worked hard and sacrificed their lives for the welfare of the people in the diocese.
With a view to empowering the diocesan Clergy and to helping them gain more pastoral expertise in order that they may serve the people effectively and professionally, many priests were sent for higher studies to do the Post-Graduate and the Doctoral Studies in Ecclesiastical and Secular streams.
During his 43 years of pastoral ministry in the diocese, it is beyond doubt that he has done his duties, be it pastoral, administrative, educational, financial, spiritual or temporal, with diligence and dedication keeping before the interest of the diocese.
The diocese gratefully acknowledges his tireless job for the diocese of Baruipur. It is his vision and mission that has brought the diocese where it stands today
INSTALLATION OF MOST REV. SHYAMAL BOSE AS THE THIRD BISHOP OF BARUIPUR
Sunday 10 May 2020, the Installation of Most Rev. Shyamal Bose, will be forever reminisced in the annals of the diocese of Baruipur as a truly momentous day for its uniqueness. On this day His Excellency Most Rev. Shyamal Bose was installed to the pastoral care of the diocese of Baruipur in a celebration of the Eucharist at Cathedral of Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Teresa of Calcutta. The installation ceremony of a new bishop which is to take place normally in a public Eucharistic liturgical celebration could not be possible due to the inevitable lockdown enforced by the Pandemic Covid -19. Thus, it took place in the presence of a bishop and ten priests of the diocese. After the entrance hymn Bishop Salvadore Lobo led and seated the new Bishop in the “Cathedra” or his “Chair” a sign of his threefold office of teaching, sanctifying and governing in the particular Church. Then the new bishop Shyamal Bose presided over the Mass as usual manner. This singular ceremony indeed marked the beginning of a new chapter in both the life of the bishop and the diocese that he has been appointed to shepherd by the Holy Father. After the Mass there was a very short felicitation to the new Bishop and a vote of thanks to the Bishop Emeritus followed by fellowship breakfast in the Bishop’s House Refectory.
Bishop Shyamal Bose was born of Mr. Matrin Bose and Late Gita Bose on 24 March 1961 in Gosaba, a village very close to Sundarban forest in our diocese. He joined St. John Mary Vianney’s Minor Seminary, Barasat in 1981 and studied philosophy at Morning Star Regional Seminary, Barrackpore and theology at St. Albert’s College, Ranchi. He was ordained priest on 5 May 1991 for our diocese. He obtained a M.Th. Degree in Biblical Theology from St. Peter's Pontifical Seminary, Bangalore in 2010.
He served the diocese for 28 years in various capacities. At the time of his appointment announced on 17 May 2019 as the Coadjutor Bishop of Baruipur he was the Treasurer/ secretary of finance committee & Chancellor of the diocese. He was consecrated as the Coadjutor Bishop of Baruipur on 24 June 2019.
Recently he has authored well appreciated catechism book titled: “Catholic Dharma Shikkhar Sarol Bakhya”
We, the clergy, religious and laity congratulate Most Rev. Shyamal Bose for taking pastoral care of the diocese and wish him a fruitful and successful episcopacy in our diocese. May Mary, Mother of the Church and St. Teresa of Calcutta, Patroness of our diocese, intercede with God for all of us and continue to guide us.
SAD DEMISE OF MOST REV. LINUS NIRMAL GOMES, S.J
The First Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Baruipur
Most Rev. Late Linus Nirmal Gomes s.j, passed away early morning on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 3.00 a.m. in the infirmary of Kolkata St. Xavier’s College where he was leading a retired life. He was the first Bishop of the catholic diocese of Baruipur when this new diocese was created, bifurcating from Calcutta archdiocese in 1977.
The funeral Mass of Most Rev. Late Linus Nirmal Gomes, s.j. was held on Monday, 01 March 2021 at 08:30 a.m. for the faithful at St. Teresa’s Church, Moulali. Thereafter, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Blessed Mother Teresa Baruipur, two Masses were held, presided over by Most Rev. Shyamal Bose, the bishop of Baruipur. The 1st Mass was for the faithful at 11 a.m. and the 2nd was at 3 p.m. followed by rite of burial. The Mass at 3 p.m. was live streamed in the You Tube as there were many who could not be present due to Covid protocol.
Most Rev. Late Linus Nirmal Gomes s.j., born at Balidior village in Dacca district of East Bengal on September 7, 1921, did his schooling Holy Cross High School, Bhandura, Bangladesh. In 1940 he came to Calcutta and after the Intermediate Arts examination in 1942 he responded to the call of Christ and to the influence especially of late Fr. P. Turmes s.j., joined the Jesuit Novitiate. He was ordained priest at St. Mary’s College Kurseong by Dr. Ferdinand Perier s.j., the then Archbishop of Calcutta on November 21, 1954. Early in his priestly ministry he went as curate to St. Teresa’s Parish, Calcutta and in 1957 started there St. Peter’s School. He remained the school’s headmaster till the end of 1966, when he was appointed parish priest at St. Teresa’s Parish in 1967. Those present at the installation ceremony in the Parish Church, could recall how charged with emotion Fr. Linus was at that great moment for he was the first Bengali Parish Priest at St. Teresa’s Parish.
As parish priest Fr. Linus worked hard and diligently. He saw to the needs of the parish community without discrimination. The Bengali liturgical services were gradually given its rightful prominence. Fr. Linus was in direct contact with the people of the parish and various organizations. People who went to meet and discuss matters with him, found a patient, considerate, cautious, yet humble parish priest who would refrain from being overbearing.
St. Teresa’s lost Fr. Linus in November 1977 when Pope Paul VI appointed him as the bishop of newly erected diocese Baruipur on 18th August. He was consecrated a bishop by Cardinal Lawrence Picachy, Archbishop of Calcutta, on November 19, 1977 at the St. Xavier’s College ground.
On the occasion of the erection of the diocese of Baruipur, Fr. J. Watteyne s.j., said, “The creation of a new diocese has always proved to be the occasion of ‘a great leap forward’ for the area concerned. Our hope this time is full of faith that what God has initiated He will care for and perfect and that the Baruipur diocese under the guidance of its bishop will find its original way to show the face of Christ to the world and so contribute to the catholicity of His Church”.
18 years of leadership and animation of Most Rev. Late Linus Nirmal Gomes s.j. in the diocese had proved that words of Fr. Watteyne s.j.
When he was ordained a bishop on 19th November 1977 the diocese of Baruipur had 3 diocesan priests, 11 religious priests, 30 sisters spread out in 9 parishes of Subdarbans. There were 20,000 Catholics. Today it has 48 diocesan priests, 31 religious priests, 20 religious brothers, 116 sisters. The number of parishes has increased to 23 and the Catholics are 63553.
As a true shepherd he visited every nook and corner of the diocese, talked to the simple people and mixed with them as any one of them.
He was a father to the people of the diocese. His fatherly affection to the people broke barriers and brought him as close to the people as possible.
18 years of his leadership has given the people of the diocese an example of simplicity, integrity and prayer. He believed in the power of prayers and spent almost 5-6 hours every day praying in the chapel. He lived a very simple life. His material needs were very few. Whenever there was public transport he made use of that for his visits to the parishes. Where ever and whenever some good was done by fathers, brothers, sisters and lay people, he encouraged it and stood by those who initiated that.
Anyone who met him would come back with peace and joy, an experience of meeting a Spirit- filled person. His warm smile said it all about his interior joy and gratitude to God and to everyone he met.
After shouldering the pastoral leadership of the diocese for 18 years he retired on October 31, 1995. Following his retirement in 1997, he agreed to lead a Jesuit mission to Bangladesh. He stayed there for 14 years with a group of Jesuit from 1997-2014. He returned to St. Xavier’s College Calcutta in 2014 where he spent his last 7 years before breathing his last on 27 February 2021 at 3 a.m.