His Holiness Pope Francis has erected the new Diocese of Rayagada, bifurcating the Diocese of Berhampur, making it suffragan of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.
The Holy Father has appointed as first Bishop of Rayagada Rev. Fr. Aplinar Senapati, C.M., till now Parish Priest at Derapather, Nagaon, Assam.
This ecclesiastical provision was made public in Rome on Monday, 11th April, 2016, at noon local time, corresponding to 15:30 hours, Indian Standard Time.
The new Diocese of Rayagada, bifurcated from the Diocese of Berhampur, in the State of Odisha, will comprise the civil districts of Kalahandi, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Nuapada and Rayagada; it will be suffragan of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.
Area of the territory of the new Diocese of Rayagada is 39,368.4 sq.km. with total population of 5,776,630, of which 61,827 is Catholic population. The Diocese has 30 Diocesan Priests, 12 Religious Priests, 104 Religious Sisters, 9 Major Seminarians, 270 Catechists, 49 Parishes, 837 Mission Stations, 8 Religious Houses for Men (10 Congregations), 25 Religious Houses for Women (34 Congregations), 11 Primary Schools, 10 Middle Schools, 7 High Schools, 1 Hospital, 10 Dispensaries, 2 Creches and 2 Homes for the Aged. The languages spoken are Oriya, Telugu, Hindi, English, Saura and Kui.
Rev. Fr. Aplinar Senapati, C.M., was born on 28th October, 1960, at Dantolingi, near Surada, in the Diocese of Berhampur. He studied Philosophy at Aquinas College, Gopalpur-on-Sea, in the Diocese of Berhampur, as a novice of the Congregation of the Mission, and studied Theology at the Pontifical University in Pune. He made his first profession on 11th May, 1984, and the final profession on 10th May, 1989. He was then ordained Priest on 28th November, 1990 for the Congregation of the Mission. He belongs to the Northern Indian Province of the Congregation of the Mission, which he served as a formator and teacher in the Minor Seminary in Baripada (1993-1996), Master of novices at Stella Maris, Gopalpur (2008-2014) as well as Promoter of vocations for the Congregation, Superior of Vincentian House at Aquinas College and Vincentian Retreat Centre, Gopalpur, Moderator for Seminarians, Consultor and Vice-Provincial Superior. He was also Assistant Parish Priest at Mohana Parish (1990-1993), Assistant Parish Priest at Alada Parish, Berhampur Diocese (1996-1997), Parish Priest at Jubaguda (2000-2005) and Dukuma (2005-2007), both in the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, and Director of National Marian Youth. Since 2009 until now, he has been Parish Priest of St. Vincent de Paul Parish and President of the English Medium School at Derapather, in the Archdiocese of Guwahati, Assam.