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.