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In Memories of Two Cardinals in Asia

Cardinal Cheong
Cardinal Sim

The Church in Asia lost two cardinals in less than two months this year.

Cardinal Cornelius Sim, a new cardinal in Asia and the first of Brunei, died on May 29. He was 69.

Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, 89, former archbishop of Seoul and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, passed away on April 27.

More about the lives of Cardinal Sim and Cardinal Cheong
and the Churches in Brunei and South Korea, of which their missions were dedicated to.

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Diocese of Bongaigaon

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Diocese of Bongaigaon
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Bongaigaon diocese covers an area of 13,630 square kilometers, comprising civil districts of Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Dhubri in the western part of Assam.

Bongaigaon is the biggest town in the diocese. Kokrajhar and Nalbari are the other main towns.

Population

Bongaigaon Diocese covers an area of 13,630 square kilometers, comprising the civil districts of Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Dhubri Districts in the western part of Assam.

Bongaigaon is the biggest town in the diocese. Kokrajhar and Nalbari are the other main towns.

Language

Assamese, Bodo, Hindi, Santhal, Garo, Oroan, Khadia, Munda, Rajbonshi and Bengali are the languages used in the diocesan territory.

History

The Augustinian priests from Dhaka are credited with bringing Christianity to the Bongaigaon area. The neighbouring Dhubri district had a vibrant Christian community in the 16th century. Later Salvatorian priests and then Salesians stayed in Dhubri.

In 1932 Salesian Fathers Archimede Piannazzi and L. Rocca made Dhubri the base for their apostolate in the Garo Hills, where Catholics were denied permission to work. The Barpeta Road Mission was established in 1936, covering the whole area of the present diocese. Bishops Orestes Marengo, Joseph Mittathany and Robert Kerketta as well as Father Remo Morra made noteworthy efforts to develop the Church here, and Father Joseph Zubizzaretta’s name will be always remembered among the most outstanding missionaries in the area. All were Salesians.

The diocese's Catholic population comes mainly from tribal communities, with Bodos forming the single largest group. Muslims form a majority in Dhubri and Barpeta districts.

Political

Cities are managed by corporations. Villages and small towns are administered by panchayats and municipalities, respectively. These local bodies are elected.

Transportation

Roads and railways form the basic transportation infrastructure. The nearest airport is in Guwahati, Assam's commercial hub.

Economy

Annual per capita income is Rs 13,925 ($300) as of October 2009. Rice, jute and tea cultivations are mainstays of the local economy. An oil refinery also provides work.

Telecommunication

Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities, and the area is served by local cable TV networks.

Education

58.51 percent literacy rate.

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