New Indian Diocese Established; Bishop Named

MAHARASHTRA, India, JULY 5, 2005 ( Benedict XVI announced the establishment of the new Diocese of Sindhudurg, formed out of the Poona Diocese, and named a bishop to the see.

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Father Alwyn Barreto of the Poona Diocese has been appointed as first bishop of the diocese, the Vatican press office said today.

As soon as the news reached Immaculate Conception Church in Vengurla in Konkan region, Father Barreto, 52, the parish priest, and his well-wishers went into the church to pray, a priest told SAR News.

Bishop Valerian D’Souza of Poona said the new diocese comprises three districts: Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Kolhapur, excluding Kolhapur City.

Forty-one priests and 93 nuns serve 28,500 Catholics spread over 17 parishes in the region. There are 16 primary schools, 14 high schools and a junior college in the diocese.

Bishop-elect Barreto was born in Mapusa, Goa. He completed his philosophy studies at St. Charles Seminary, Nagpur, and his theology studies at Papal Seminary, Pune.

He was ordained for the Diocese of Poona in October 1979. For the last nine years he was dean of the Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Kolhapur districts.

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