The earliest Catholic missionaries to visit Udaipur were two French Capuchin priests -- Fathers Jean and Pius -- who came here from Mhow on foot in 1891. But the first Christian missionary to settle down in the town was Dr. Shepherd, a Scottish Presbyterian. He came in 1877. Because of his medical skill and personal qualities he found favor with the royal household. The church near Chetak Circle, now called the Church of North India, is said to have been a gift from the Maharana to the British engineers who had helped build the Fateh Sagar Lake.
As far as Catholics are concerned, the mission work in the areas, which at present constitute the diocese of Udaipur, began towards the end of the 19th century. It was the French Capuchins of the Paris Province who were entrusted with the evangelization of a large part of the Central Provinces and Rajputana, as the area was then known. Capuchin Father Charles started work and settled at Thandla in Jhabua district in 1896. Through him and other valiant and pioneering missionaries, the work progressed and missions increased in number.
The mission stations of Palasdor, Mahuri, Ambapara, Amlipara, Jamburi and others in Kushalgarh were founded in those early years. In 1934 Fathers Charles and Bernard laid the foundations of the future diocese of Udaipur by setting up the two missions of Ambapara and Mahudi respectively. Later in the late 1940s Fathers Leopold, Agathange and Ignace were instrumental in establishing the missions of Amlipada, Jambudi and Dungarpur.
Originally, parts of the present states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and the whole of Rajasthan came under one prefecture. In 1913 this prefecture was made diocese of Ajmer, as it was then called, and Father Fartunatus Caumont was appointed its first bishop.
In 1935 the major part of the Central Province was separated from Ajmer diocese to form the new prefecture apostolic of Indore, which became a diocese in 1952. It was in 1949 that Father Leo D'Mello was appointed the first Indian bishop of Ajmer diocese. There was talk about splitting the Ajmer diocese further, as it was considered too large for close supervision from the point of view of evangelization as well as administration. But it was only in the time of Bishop lgnatius Menezes that the bifurcation came about. On Dec. 3, 1984, Ajmer diocese was further bifurcated into the diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur and the diocese of Udaipur.
On Feb. 14, 1985, Father Joseph Pathalil, who had worked in the tribal belt of Udaipur for over two decades, was ordained as the first bishop of the new diocese of Udaipur.
In 2002 the portions of Madhya Pradesh in Udaipur diocese was separated and joined to parts of the diocese of Indore to form the new diocese of Jhabua.
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.