Claretian Missionaries

KOLKATA INDEPENDENT DELEGATION

Delegation History

The Missionary Steps of Kolkata Delegation

“Remembering something from the past, you are creating it right now as evidence for who you are now” said Frederick Dodson, author and founder of Quick Learning Company. Somehow, the past is integral to the present “now” and that is why it deserves a remembrance and rejoicing.

With this little reflection, we shall look back the small missionary steps we have been taking in the Kolkata Delegation ever since the year 1985 and the miles we have reached so far with smiles on our faces. Our history at Kolkata began on June 20, in 1985, when Rev. Fr. S. Anselmus reached Barrackpore with the then students Vincent Anesthasiar and Arokiadoss. He had visited Kolkata a little earlier in an exploration mission to find a suitable place for another theology house of formation for our students because at that time there was only one theology house at Malleshwaram, Bangalore. Other three priests were sent to Delhi, Pune and Poonthamallee respectively. Finally, Kolkata was chosen as the will of God. The two students began their theological studies at Morning Star College and three regents were also sent to different missions. Thereafter, every year theology students and regents were regularly sent to Kolkata mission. Meanwhile, Fr. Anselmus bought a piece of land and started constructing the theology house, “Claret Nivas” at Barrackpore, while the first community stayed in the Morning Star College temporarily. Except one or two, all regents were sent to Santhal missions namely Chamrusai, Kamar Chowki, and Midnapur with the Jesuit priests, some of them were veteran Belgian missionaries.

In 1988 Rev. Fr. J. Remigius, the first priest missionary was sent from Tamil Nadu to a Santhal mission called Baligheria to serve under Fr. Robert D’Souza of the Kolkata Archdiocese. In 1989 Claret Nivas, the theology study house was inaugurated and in 1990 Fr. Remigius went to Jhardgram along with the late Rev. Fr. V.S. Pakianathan to study about the possibility of taking up that mission. But in the same year Fr. Pakianathan had to start the minor seminary called Claret Vidhyaniketan in Rajipur in the diocese of Raiganj and became its first superior. After a year of stay at Jhardgram and after discerning that it was not the will of God that we take up the mission, Fr. Remigius became the parish priest of Kearchand, another vibrant Santhal mission in the archdiocese of Calcutta in 1991. We were animating the mission till 1998 when we handed it over to the diocese back. It was the mission which gave exposure to Santhali life and culture to many of our priests, regents and theology students.

After the tragic killing of Fr. Pakianathan in the year 1993, we shifted the minor seminary to Claret Nivas, Barrackpre. In the same year the Lord opened for us the door of Orissa and we took up another Santhal mission in Amarda Road of Balasore diocese and Fr. Remy became its first parish priest and we handed it over to the diocese in 1999 at the insistence of the then bishop. In 1993 the bishop of Raiganj entrusted to us the mission of Bizrail, an another big Santhal mission which has an English medium school and hostels for girls and boys now. We initially resided in Dolahar and then shifted to Bizrail. In the same year Claret Ashram the Santhal boys’ home was started and its first superior was Fr. Michael Raja Pandian. It was located first in Silda and later shifted to Sahadi. It is the only mission where we have no catholic families. In 1997 Claret vidyaniketan was shifted to Lalpur Claretian house and in 1999 it was moved to Saparam, Ranchi. In the same year we started another big Santhal mission in Sahanagar in the diocese of Asansol which has now an English medium school and hostels for boys and girls. Our residence was first in Sialmara then in Barwa and finally shifted to Sahanagar in 2000.

In the year 1999 we started the community of Nirmal Sadan at Ghatsila to take care of the parish of Mohbandar in the diocese of Jamshedpur and the late Fr. A. Yesudoss was its first parish priest. In the jubilee year of 2000 we started St. Claret English medium School at Barrackpore, the first school in the Delegation. In the year 2003 we were also entrusted with the parish of Lalpur in the archdiocese of Ranchi, and our community there now is called Claret Deep, a small study center cum library was also functioning in that mission for the students who write competitive exams, which is now shifted to Claretian House Lalpur in 2021. We were also running CIET (Claret Institute of Employment Training) in the nearby Loyola Institute from 2008 and gave it back to the Archdiocese in the year 2017. The bishop of Dumka invited us to the parish of Daldangal in 2008 from where we shifted to Basmata in 2010 and now we have a Santhal parish and a Hindi medium school and hostels for boys and girls there. It is while serving here as the parish priest we tragically lost a veteran Santhal missionary namely Rev. Fr. J. John Bosco in a road accident in 2017. In 2014 accepting the invitation of the bishop of Buxar we started the mission of Claret Manzil at Nuaon and in 2015 at the long-standing invitation of the bishop of Baruipur we started the mission of Claret Premaloy at Nazat. 2018 was also a year of mission expansion. We bifurcated the mission of Sahanagar and carved a new mission at Masagram on 22nd July and the community is called “Claret Gyanalaya”. Then in the diocese of Kunti we have opened a new mission in a place called Sarangloya, the community there is named as Nishkalanga Bhavan. We took up a mission in the diocese of Andamans in Betapur which was inaugurated on 15th July and the community is called Claret Jharna. Then at the invitation of the bishop of Mymensingh diocese in central- North Bangladesh we started a mission in 2019 in a place called Gacherbitta which has above 30000 catholics and the vast majority of them are Gharo tribals. The community there is called “Claret Noktank”. There are only two missionaries working there one is Fr. Christuraja J and the other is Fr. Gabriel Mankim Sangma from the North East Delegation.
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