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Oldest Catholic church in Tura and first Garo priest from Rongara fondly remembered

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TURA, Nov 5: Rich tributes have been paid to the first catholic missionaries from Italy who set foot in Garo Hills in 1933, 90 years ago, as the Catholic Church celebrates the golden jubilee of the establishment of its first Diocese in Tura in the year 1973.

In pics | Sacred Heart Shrine at Tura lights up to mark Golden Jubilee of Tura Diocese

The Catholic Church in Garo Hills is witnessing a sea of humanity as devotees from five Garo Hills districts, West Khasi Hills, Assam and even parts of North Bengal throng Tura to join the celebrations which began in a big way on November 4th with the inauguration and blessing of the Adoration Chapel inside the Sacred Heart Shrine church in Tura by Archbishop of Shillong Victor Lyngdoh and a candlelight procession to honor Mary- Mother of Lord Jesus Christ.

In Pics | 50 years of Tura Diocese : Blessing of the Adoration Chapel

As many as 18 Bishops from across the North East are participating in this religious celebration which will culminate in a special service on Sunday morning at Don Bosco Stadium in Tura.

Pics | Marian procession travels from Sacred Heart Shrine to Don Bosco School field in Tura

Bishop of Tura Andrew R Marak, in his welcome address to the faithful recalled the establishment of the first church of the diocese- Cathedral Church, next to Bishop House in Tura, which has since become a full fledged parish with a school for children and also the first garo to become a priest.

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“The first garo to become a priest in the catholic faith was Prisbinush Rangsa Marak who hailed from Rongara parish of South Garo Hills, bordering Bangladesh. Today the church is blessed with 55 garo priests under the Tura diocese, while nuns and sisters of the faith have risen from just a handful of 10 garo sisters in 1973 to a staggering 191 which is a remarkable religious feat,” said Bishop Andrew.

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Though catholic missionaries from Italy first arrived in Garo Hills almost 90 years ago (1933), the golden jubilee celebrations are being marked from the establishment of the first diocese and church in 1973 in Tura.

In Pics | 50 years of Tura Diocese : Blessing of the Adoration Chapel

Bishop Andrew has appealed to his congregation to have “Deeper faith in our beliefs and practice, especially family prayers, individual prayers and devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Rosary. There is a need for more vocations or calling among the locals to serve the church,” said the bishop.

Pics | Marian procession travels from Sacred Heart Shrine to Don Bosco School field in Tura

In April 1973 when the Diocese was started there were only 42,919 Catholics in the entire Garo Hills. In the course of the last 50 years, with the dedicated efforts of the missionaries and lay people, today the strength of the church has risen to 3,40,175 faithful with 47 parishes and 114 priests.

Also Read: Pioneers of Catholic faith in Garo Hills to be remembered during Golden Jubilee celebrations

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