Raigarh Diocese Marks Jubilee, and Recalls a Difficult Past

Missionaries in India Were Outcasts a Century Ago

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RAIGARH, India, JAN. 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Raigarh Diocese in the east central state of Chhattisgarh is marking 50 years of service to the poor, oppressed and needy, in a place where Christian missionaries a century ago were considered enemies by local feudal lords.

Jubilee celebrations Dec. 28 at Kunkuri, the diocesan center here, attracted 13 bishops, 500 priests, nearly 5,000 nuns and 80,000 lay people, who participated in the thanksgiving Mass, SAR News reported.

Raigarh-Ambikapur was formed as a diocese from Ranchi and Nagpur on Dec. 13, 1951. The Raigarh Diocese has 222,000 Catholics.

The local tribal bishop, Victor Kindo, heads the diocese, assisted by 120 diocesan clergy, 25 congregations of nuns, and nine of men religious.

«At the beginning of the 20th century, no Catholic priest could enter this region,» Bishop Kindo said. «In 1905, there was a strong movement toward Christianity among the Oraon tribals. However, the local feudal rulers restricted the entry of the Christian missionaries. With great difficulty, the missionaries sowed the seeds of faith.»

«God has done great things for us,» the bishop added. «In spite of the Niyogi Commission, court cases, false propaganda, and many hardships, the diocese and the people have developed all God´s blessings.»

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