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Diano d’alba and Tura – retracing history

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99 years ago, an young man called Orestes Marengo, born in a house  called ‘La Cecce’ in Diano d’Alba had  set out on a long journey from his  native country of Italy to Shillong, in India. This journey ended in Tura on 30 July 1998 on the day of his death in Tura. After completing his formation  in Shillong and Sonada, Bishop Marengo was ordained a priest on 2 April 1932 in Shillong. From that moment he  travelled far and wide and  brought the Gospel message to thousands of  persons and families, helping them in every way possible.

Servant of God Orestes Marengo

In 1951 he was appointed Bishop of the new diocese of Dibrugarh and as  bishop of Dubrgarh he  took Pastoral care of the present Nagaland and Manipur and also all over Assam. In 1964 he was appointed as Bishop of Tezpur and in 1971 he was entrusted with the care of the future diocese of Tura as Apostolic administrator. Bishop Marengo began the pioneering work of building the dioceses with the help of his benefactors from in and around his birthplace. Even after  his retirement in 1979, he continued to help the diocese  and  the new Bishop of Tura, looking for funds to support the diocese. He remained available for various tasks until his death in Tura on 30 July 1998. Bishop Marengo was loved by all and  spoke more than 20 local languages. His cause of sainthood was initiated by Most Rev. George Mamalassery, then bishop of Tura, in 2007 and it was concluded in 2013. He is now recognized as a Servant of God by the church.

With nephew and grand niece of Bp Marengo

This month, an Indian bishop, Bishop Jose Chirackal, the auxiliary bishop of Tura, visited the birth place of Bishop Orestes Marengo in Diano d’alba. Incidently, Bishop Jose himself was recruited by Bishop Marengo back in 1976 for the new diocese of Tura. The bishop was given a warm welcome by the people of Diano d’lba and organized a community meal together. The Mayor of the town  received the bishop cordially and presented a beautiful book on Italy. The bishop in turn presented him some tea from Garo Hills. The bishop visited the house where Bishop Marengo was born on 29 August 1906.  In this house, surrounded by wine gardens, lived one  time Bishop Marengo along with his parents  Lorenzo  and Agostina Montaldo, 23 brothers and 2 sisters.  Bishop marengo’s brother Giuseppe became a diocesan priest while his sister Maria Agnese was a Thouret nun.

With present owner of the house

Bishop Jose also celebrated Holy Mass in the parish church of Diano Alba. An image of Bishop Marengo is placed at the back of the church and once in a month the Faithful gather there to pray for the beatification of Bishop Marengo and to ask for graces.

The visit of Bishop Jose to Diano d’alba is significant as the diocese of Tura is currently in the Golden Jubilee year of its foundation.  The  diocese of Tura was erected in 1973 with Bishop Marengo as its first prelate until 1979 when the first bishop of Tura was appointed. It is expected that a delegation from Diano ‘alba will participate in the Golden Jubilee celebrations in Tura in November 2023.

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