In a land area of 5,196 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers civil districts of East Khasi Hills and Ri Bhai in the state of Meghalaya. Shillong is the biggest town in the diocese.
In the diocesan territory, the population is 1,170,000 at the end of 2017. Khasi, Garo, Karbi are the major ethnic tribal groups in the diocese.
Khasi, Pnar, Hindi, English, Assamese, Garo, Karbi, Tiwa and Nepali are the languages used in the diocesan territory.
In 1889, the Prefecture Apostolic of Assam was created with headquarters at Shillong, and was entrusted to the German Salvatorian Fathers. With the outbreak of World War I, the German Salvatorian Fathers were forced to return to their country and the Jesuits of Calcutta looked after Assam till it was entrusted to the Salesians of Don Bosco in 1921.
In 1934, the Diocese of Shillong was erected and Father Louis Mathias, SDB, was appointed as its first bishop. Following his transfer to Madras, Bishop Stephen Fernando, SDB, of Krishnagar diocese was transferred to Shillong as its second bishop in 1935.
In 1951, the diocese of Shillong was bifurcated and the diocese of Dibrugarh was created. In 1964, the diocese of Shillong was once again divided and a new diocese of Tezpur was created. In 1969, Shillong diocese was raised to the status of a Metropolitan See and a new ecclesiastical province of Shillong-Guwahati was created and Bishop Hubert D'Rosario, SDB, was transferred from Dibrugarh to Shillong as its first archbishop. The Archdiocese of Shillong-Guwahati was divided again in 1973 to form the diocese of Tura.
The next division of Shillong-Guwahati archdiocese is the creation of Diphu diocese in 1983. On Sept. 23, 1990, Bishop Tarcisius Resto Phanrang, SDB, was appointed as auxiliary bishop of Shillong-Guwahati. Further bifurcation of Shillong-Guwahati archdiocese was made in 1992 with the creation of Guwahati diocese. On Aug. 1, 1995, Bishop Tarcisius Phanrang was appointed archbishop of Shillong.
Archbishop Resto Phanrang went to his eternal reward on May 5, 1999. At the death of Archbishop Phanrang on May 5, 1999, Father Michael Marbaniang was appointed as the diocesan administrator. On April 2, 2000, Father Dominic Jala, SDB, was ordained archbishop of Shillong.
The city is managed by corporation. The villages and small towns are administered by elected local bodies called Panchayats and municipalities respectively.
The diocesan area is well connected in terms of transport infrastructure by roads. The nearest airport is in Guwahati city.
The per capita income in the archdiocese is 18,274 ($395) as of November 2009. Farming especially vegetables like potatoes, cauliflowers are grown in the diocesan area. A few industries like cement factories are situated near the Assam border.
Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area. The diocese is well connected by local cable TV networks.
Nearly 70.9 percent is the literacy rate in the diocesan territory.
On every first Friday of the month thousands of Catholics flock to Holy Cross Church of Cherpunkal in Kerala, India to revere Infant Jesus and St. Thomas, the founder of the church. The church stands on the southern bank of Meenachil River. This fabled church, also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross)Church, belongs to Catholic Diocese of Palai of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
St. Joseph’s Church in Lahore is the oldest Catholic Church in Pakistan that has flourished since the 19th century despite deadly sectarian violence in recent years. The church at Sarfaraz Rafiqui Road in Lahore was established as a wooden structure during the British colonial era, on Oct. 31, 1842, to provide pastoral care to the British soldiers. It completed 180 years this year.
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.
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.
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.