Ecclesiastical Details

Diocese of Jalpaiguri
Heirarchy of the Diocese
Rite:
Latin
Population: 4971688
 
Status:
Diocese
Catholics: 139612
 
Founded:
17-Jan-52
Diocesan Priests: 60
  Total area:
145597.7 sq.kms
Religious Priests: 30
 
Province:
Calcutta
Religious Sisters: 216
 
Region:
Bengal
Seminarians: 19
  Patron:
Christ the King
  Languages: ?Bengali Hindi English Sadri Oraon Munda Kharia Boro Santal.
  Civil States:
Contact Diocese of Jalpaiguri:
Bishop's House Mohitnagar Post Dt. Jalpaiguri - 735 101. WEST BENGAL
Telephone 1:
03561-25 53 71 / 03561-25 53 70
Fax:
25 53 70
 
E-Mail Office:
bishopjal@yahoo.com
Website:
 
Most Rev. Clement Tirkey, Bishops of Jalpaiguri
Name:
Most Rev. Clement Tirkey
Designation:
Bishops     E-mail (P):
Canonical Possession:
    Telephone (P): 03561-25 74 72
 
Other Present & Retired Ordinaries of the Diocese of Jalpaiguri
 
Pilgrim Centres in theDiocese of Jalpaiguri
 
Ecclesiastical Institutions
 
Social / Charitable Institutions / Care Centres
Educational Institutions
Parishes:
142
 
Hospitals:
2
   
Degree Colleges:
2
Major Seminaries:
 
Orphanages:
3
   
Technical Training Centres:
Minor Seminaries:
1
 
Special Schools:
   
High Schools:
16
Monastries:
2
 
Crches:
   
Lower Primary Schools:
14
Convents:
37
 
Counselling Centres:
   
Presses & Media Centres:
Formation Houses:
7
 
Social Centres:
   
Professional Colleges:
Retreat Centres:
1
 
Dispensaries / Clinics:
11
   
Parallel Colleges:
3
 
Physically Challenged:
5
   
Higher Secondary :
16
       
Boarding Houses:
32
   
Upper Primary Schools:
14
       
HIV / AIDS Centres:
   
Nurseries/Pre-Primary :
       
De-addiction Centres:
       
          Aged & Destitute:        
     
       
History of the Diocese of Jalpaiguri
 
The Catholic presence in the area of this diocese of Jalpaiguri goes back to around the year 1911 and is linked from from its beginning with the present area of the diocese of Dinajpur which is now in Bangladesh. There is a short narration of a certain Gabriel Toppo from the area of Ranchi in the present Jharkhand who brought the news of the adibasi tribals of the Jharkhand area obtaining new life on their social and religious front thanks to the arrival of Catholic Fathers there from Belgium. Some people were taken up with the news and were looking for such Fathers but nothing happened till around the year 1911 when Fr Joseph Antony Limana a PIME Father came from Italy and found some shelter close to a railway station Mal and started contacting people. He was offered some place in one of the tea estates where there were some twenty Catholics working as tea garden labourers also from the land of Jharkhand. He was happy to come and work there. He very soon won their love and admiration.

Later in the year 1923 another PIME priest Father Lazzaroni by name got as his residence the bungalow of a tea garden manager in Nagrakata. This became the first parish house of this area. All this was still under the Diocese of Dinajpur where also Church work was being done by the Fathers of the same Pontifical Milan Missionary Society more know as the PIME Fathers.

The Diocese of Jalpaiguri came into being long after the partition of India which took place in the year 1952 with one of the veteran PIME Fathers from Italy Fr. Ambrose Galibati as its First Bishop. Msgr Galbiati was then the parish priest of Damanpur embracing a very vast area on the east of river Torsa in the district of Jalpaiguri. While on the western vast area of this same river Torsa worked another Father of the same Church Work institute Fr Amatore Artico residing in PIME Regional center and parish at Nagrakata. Bishop Galbiati was much loved but had to go back to Italy sick in the year 1965. In 1968 Msgr Francis Ekka was appointed Bishop of Jalpaiguri and took up the reign of the diocese serving it till the year 1971 when he was transferred to the Diocese of Raigarh Ambikapur. He entrusted the Episcopal responsibility on the shoulders of the new appointee Msgr James A. Toppo.

Fr Ambrose Galbiati was the founding parish priest of Damanpur and decided to stay there even as Bishop close to the Sub divisional town of Alipurduar. Damanpur became the center of the diocesan administration. This was continued by Mgr Francis Ekka for the duration of his service. After three years of his stay at Damanpur Msgr. James A. Toppo moved the Episcopal seat to Jalpaiguri the district center of the civil administration. Jalpaiguri is also the divisional center of the five districts lying north of the River Ganges in West Bengal also known as North Bengal.

The Christians are mainly from the adibasi tribal groups of people and in the State of West Bengal their language has stayed close to the tribal languages in the form of the lingua franca Sadri a much rural form of Hindi. The total number of Catholics now come to some 110000. The apostolate consists mainly in spiritual animation of the people and their social uplift through education and medical service through some 56 Priests 23 Brothers and around 180 Religious Sisters helped by catechists and the other lay participants.

The diocesan Jurisdiction extend over entire districts of Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar forming the thin link strip of the State of West Bengal to the States extreme east of India.
Prelates of the Diocese of Jalpaiguri
Bishop NamePrelate Designation PeriodBishop NamePrelate Designation Period
Bp. James A. Toppo 1971 - 2004 Bp. Francis Ekka 1968 - 1971
Bp. Ambrose Galbiati 1952 - 1967