In 1939, the Third Order Regular Franciscan Missionaries of the Province from their Most Sacred Heart of Jesus province in Loreto, Pennsylvania, USA, came to the Diocese of Patna (now an Archdiocese) to assist the Jesuits, who were already engaged in the evangelization work in the region. The newcomers were assigned to the Mission Stations of Bhagalpur, Gokla, Proeyahat and Godda.
In 1956, the Vatican separated Bhagalpur from Patna and made it an Apostolic Prefecture. Fr. Urban McGarry, TOR was appointed as its first Prefect on Aug. 7, 1956.
When the prefecture was elevated to the Diocese of Bhagalpur, Msgr. McGarry was appointed its first bishop. Today it covers the civil districts of Bhagalpur, Godda, Deoghar, Banka, Jamui, Giridih and parts of Sahebganj and Munger districts, with a land area of 26,000 square kilometers in what was formerly the southeastern part of Patna Diocese.
The population of 8,256,600 people includes tribal communities.
Hindi and the tribal Santhali and Oraon languages are spoken.
Bhagalpur diocese straddles the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, the latter being created from the former in 2000. India is a federal republic with a multi-party democratic system in which people directly elect the national and state governemnts.
Districts are administered by district magistrates, appointed by the government, whose subordinates in blocks, or anchal, are called Development Officers, or anchal adhikari. They collect revenue and coordinate all developmental works. The latter form the base of the pyramid of administration. Now local governance under the Panchayat Raj system is introduced wherein elected representatives of the panchayat , or village council, monitor development works in a village.
However, all policy decisions at the state level are made by a Cabinet of ministers headed by the Chief Minister. Political parties play a significant role in the administration of a state.
Road, rail and river are all used for transportation.
Agriculture is widely practiced in the diocesan area. The major industries are coal mining, textiles and silk.
All India Radio Bhagalpur (AIR Bhagalpur / Akashvani Bhagalpur) broadcasts in the territory.
45.08 percent literacy rate
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.