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Brief history of Ranchi Jesuit Province

Posted on: January 10, 2007.

Updated on: December 16, 2008.

By Webmaster

The Jesuit Province of Ranchi was established in the year 1952. Until then it was part of Calcutta Province. Ranchi Mission was created as a separate unit from Calcutta Mission in 1935, but was still governed by the latter. It was only in 1953 that Ranchi Mission raised to the status of a full-fledged independent Province in 1956 with Fr. J.B. Moyerseon as its first Provincial. Since then so many year have passed and the present strength of the Province is 360, the second largest in India after Madurai (Madras) Province.

Important dates

1858: Proclamation of Queen Victoria: India comes under the Crown.

1859: The fist Belgian Jesuits arrive in India to work in Calcutta.
1864: Mgr Van Heule becomes vicar apostolic of Bengal. The Belgian Jesuits extend their activities to the whole Bengal Vicariate.
1869: Fr. A. Stockman, the first Jesuit to arrive in Chota Nagpur (Chaibasa)
1885: Arrival of Fr. C. Lievens in Chota Nagpur. Torpa becomes the centre of his activities. Foundation of the Indian National Congress.
1886: Establishment of the Hierarchy in India. The Apostolic Vicariate of Bengal, comprising the actual Ranchi, Hazaribagh and Palamau districts, is erected by Decree of Pope Leo XIII into the Archdiocese of Calcutta.
1888: Fr. Lievens establishes himself at Manresa House, Ranchi, which becomes the centre of the Chota Nagpur Mission.
1893: Death of Fr. Lievens at Leuven (Belgium) on November 7,1893.
1903: St. Aloysius Apostolic School is started at Ranchi
1908: Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act.
1909: Blessing of Ranchi Cathedral
1913: St. Albert’s Seminary stated at Ranchi (December)
1914: Outbreak of world war I. German-born Fathers leave India (Hoffman, 1915) or are “interned”.
1922: Election of Pope Pius XI. His Pontificate (1922-39) marks a great revival in missionary sprit and activity. Non Cooperation Movement by M.K. Gandhi.
1924: Mgr F. Perier become Archbishop of Calcutta.
1927: By decree of the Holy see, May 25, 1927, the Archdiocese of Calcutta is divided. The Bengal Mission remains undivided, but is called henceforth the Calcutta-Ranchi Mission.
1930: The Catholic Press (CPR) is started at Ranchi.
1933: St. Stanislaus noviciate opens at Sitagarha.
1934: Mgr Sevrin succeeds Mgr Van Hoeck (+1933) as Bishop of Ranchi.
1935: By Decree of VRF. W. Ledochowkshi of 21.04.35 and coming into effect on 08.05.35 the Belgian Province divided into the North and south Belgian Province (PBS and PBM) and consequently the Calcutta Ranchi mission is also divided into the Calcutta(PBM) and the Ranchi mission (PBS). The mission territories coincide with the respective dioceses. Golden Jubilee of the Ranchi mission. Government of India Act of 1935, providing for self government in British India.
1939: Outbreak of work war II no new missionaries for the next 7 years.
1944: St. Xavier’s collage stated at Ranchi.
1947: India achieves Independence.
1948: Part of Singhbhum district belonging to the Ranchi Mission, is ceded the Jesuits of the Maryland Province, who with other territories, found the Jamshedpur Mission. That part of Singhbhum, however remains part of the Ranchi Diocese.
1948: The Orissa part of the Ranchi Mission is ceded to the S.V.D. fathers. It becomes, with other territories, the Diocese of Sambalpur, by Decree of the Holy see of June 14, 1951
1951: On February 22, 1951 The first Australian Jesuits arrive. They will work in the Hazaribagh and Palamau districts of the Ranchi Mission. By Decree of the Holy See of December 13, 1951 the Ranchi diocese is dived into two, following the boundaries of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Rt. Rev. O. Sevrin ceded the (reduced) Ranchi Diocese to Rt. Rev. N. Kujur S.J.and becomes the first bishop of the new Raighar-Ambikapur diocese. The Ranchi Mission remains undivided.
1953: By decree of VRF. J.B. Janssens, the Ranchi Mission is promoted to the status of Dependent vice-Province. The decree comes into force on the feast of our loard’s Ascension, May 14, 1953. the last superior Regular Fr. J.B. Moyersoen become the first vice provincial.
1956: By decree of VRF. J.B. Janssencs of 04.02.56 the Ranchi dependent vice province is raised to the status of an independent province as from March 12 1956. Fr. J. B. Moyersone become e first provincial. By decree of Fr. Genral J.B. Janssens, dated 04.02.56, Hazaribag-Palamau become the Regio Hazaribagensis, dependent on Ranchi, with a superior enjoying the power of the Major superior. Fr P. McInerney was appointed Vice Superior and tempus until Fr. A. Kelly was appointed Regional Superior on 23.04.56
1959: By Decree if VRF. J.B. Janssens dated 22.01.59 the Raighar-Ambikapur District was erected into a Dependent Region under the guidance of a Regional superior having the authority of a Major superior. The details of his powers and other arrangements are specified in the same decree (AR XIII, pp 586-589). Fr J. Bulcknes Superior districts hitherto, was appointed the first Superior of the Region on 12.02.59
1960: H.G. Archbishop N. Kujur dies at Brussels (Belgium) on 24.07.60. He is succeeded as Archbishop of Ranchi by the Rt. Rev. P. Kerketta elected on 07.03.61, and consecrated on May 21, 1961
1964: Fr. H. Rasschaert dies a martyr of charity on 24.03.64
1971: The Rt. Rev. G. Saupin elected Bishop of Daltonganj on 06.06.71 He was ordained bishop on 13.10.71. His see comprises the districts of the Hazaribagh Region. Fr. Polycarp Toppo arrive in Khartoum (15.11.71) shortly followed (Jan 1972) by 4 other Ranchi Jesuits to work in South Sudan (Juba and Wau)
1977: Division of the Raighar-ambikapur diocese. The Rt. Rev P. Ekka SJ is elected the first bishop of the new Ambikapur diocese on 12.12.77 and ordained bishop on 26.02.78. The Raighar-Ambikapur Region’s territories remain unaffected, i.e. coincide with the two diocese.
1979: By degree of VRF P. Arrupe, dated June 12, 1979 the Raighar-Ambikapur region is extended so as to comprise the whole territory of the state of Madhya Pradesh, and henceforth be called the Madhya Pradesh Region (MAP). Fr. W. Mission already superior Regular of the Raighra-Ambikapur Region since 06.02.79 becomes the first Superior of the Madhya Pradesh Region.
1985: Catholic Chota Nagpur celebrates the Centenary of Fr. Constant Lievens arrival in Chota Nagpur. H.G. Archbishop O. Kerketta S.J. resigns his see and is succeeded as Archbishop of Ranchi By H.G. Telesphore Toppo DD, on 25.08.85

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