KOLKATA (C.M. Paul) – Salesian archbishop Lucas Sirkar and archbishop coadjutor Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta held a ‘meet and greet’ of media personnel, 17th January 2012, on the lawns of Archbishop’s House, 32 Mother Teresa Sarani (Park Street). It was the first time such a programme was organized during the 125th year celebration of the founding of archdiocese of Calcutta (1886).
Speaking to The Herald, Archbishop of Calcutta Lucas Sirkar said “Service to humanity is service to God. We have a mission of service in Education, Health Care and Social Development. We are going to organize a series of events this year to mark the completion of 125 years of the Archdiocese of Calcutta”.
Co-adjutor Archbishop Thomas D’Souza ofCalcuttaadded, “We have already opened a 70-bed Hospital at Midnapore, to serve the sick, especially the poor, including Leprosy, TB and HIV/AIDS patients in that area. We aspire to reach out to the poor and marginalized children, youth and women in the areas of education, health care and empowerment to the maximum extent possible.”
Director, Social Communication, Archdiocese of Calcutta Fr. Sunil Rozario said, “We are hopeful. We want everybody’s participation, involvement in this holy mission of service to society.”
Fr. Dominic Gomes, Archdiocesan Spokesperson said, “We sincerely believe there is no higher religion than human service, and to work for the common good is our greatest creed.”
The event also had a short power point presentation on the archdiocese as well as the launch of the newly designed website of the Archdiocese of Calcuttahttp://www.archdioceseofcalcutta.in
Besides listing information on the Archdiocese, the Archbishop, Diocesan officials and various Commissions, the website has detailed information on schools, social, health and youth services.
“We have designed the site with a simple and friendly look which allows uncomplicated access to the information to visitors. It also facilitates diocesan officials to make relevant updates easily, without any technical knowledge,” claim the website’s developers.
In the course of the evening, the prelates met, greeted and interacted with some 20 media personnel, both from the print and electronic media. They also had chance to meet and chat with the diocesan commission heads.
Christianity in India, though started in 52AD by St Thomas the Apostle of Jesus Christ, has today approximately 24 million followers, constituting 2.4% of India’s population. Christianity in West Bengal is a minority consisting of about 0.6% of the population.
In West Bengal, the Archdiocese of Calcutta is the Metropolitan archdiocese with seven dioceses (Asansol, Baruipur, Bagdogra, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Krishnagar and Raiganj) linked to it.
The Calcutta archdiocese has 37 parishes and 17 quasi parishes served by 224 priests belonging to the diocesan clergy and 10 religious orders, along with 125 brothers and some 950 religious Sisters.
The first Christian settlements in Bengal appeared at the end of the sixteenth century and Bandel Church, perhaps the first church in eastern India, was built in 1599. AtCalcutta, the first Catholic Chapel was established in 1700. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary on Brabourne Road was started in 1797.
The Vicariate Apostolic of Bengal, with Calcutta as its headquarters was established in 1834 by the Society of Jesus. The Herald, first Catholic weekly of India, an archdiocesan publication started in 1839. There is also a Bengali language monthly edition of The Herald.