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

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TURA, Nov.1: As the Catholic Church prepares to open its month long jubilee celebrations to commemorate the arrival of the faith into Garo Hills and the establishment of its first Diocese in Tura, fifty years ago, the church will be looking back with special affection to the first missionaries who brought the word of God into the region.

First Garo Priests
First Garo Sisters

A special place in the history of the church is marked for two Italian missionaries. Fathers A. Pianazzy and Fr L. Rocca, two Salesians of Don Bosco who were the first missionaries of the Catholic faith to set foot in Garo Hills in the year 1933.

Msgr Marengo with pioneering Sisters

Their entry into Garo Hills led to arrival of more European and South Indian missionaries to spread the Gospel among the people prompting the then head of the Catholic Church in Rome- Pope Paul VI to raise Tura into a Diocese on the 7th of April 1973, by detaching territories from the Archdiocese of Shillong-Guwahati with late Bishop Orestes Marengo (SDB) becoming the first Apostolic Administrator.

Frs Frassy, Mankin and Kuriala
Fr Stadler and Fr Rubio

The diocese had at that time around 42919 Catholics spread over the entire Garo Hills and the Goalpara and Kamrup districts of Assam. There were 6 parishes and a total of 21 priests: 16 religious and 5 diocesans.

Bp Mama, Fr Busolin and Bro Eligius

The works of European missionaries, namely Father George Stadler, Father Frassy, Father Busolin and Father Laria are fondly remembered even today by the elders of the church.

Fr Mathew

Then there is Father Mathew, well known as Father Atchu (grandfather) who first took under his care the young Purno A Sangma before Italian Father Busolin took him under his wings.

Reception to P A Sangma

Today, as the church celebrates its golden jubilee year, it will look back at the immense contributions the missionaries made in not just spread the teachings of the Gospel but also in the field of education and healthcare.

Fr CL Thomas

The Tura Diocese now comprises over 47 parishes spread across the region and cared for by as many as 114 priests from various congregations.

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One of its biggest assets has been in imparting education to thousands of children across Garo Hills- particularly Don Bosco school and college in Tura, St. Xavier’s School for girls, the Jesuit run Loyola School and college in Williamnagar.

The church runs as many as 22 higher secondary schools, 53 secondary schools and over 100 primary schools and hostels where more than 65000 students currently study.

The church also has the biggest medical care in the region and is only next to the government in providing medical facilities in the rural areas.

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The Holy Cross Hospital in Tura, 34 dispensaries and the 5 Primary Health centres of the State run by the Diocesan Social Service, Bakdil, The RSM Nursing School attached to Holy Cross Hospital, Walbakgre, the Montfort centre for Education training of Teachers for differently abled children and taking care of them, the 2 old ages homes for the poor managed by Mother Teresa Missionary Sisters of Charity have provided comfort and care for many a needy.

Also Read: Ampareen assures transparent selection for enhanced 108 services in Meghalaya

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