States of India
Catholic Church In Mizoram
The beginnings of the Catholic Church in Mizoram are traced back to the initiatives of some lay people. After reading some booklets on the Catholic faith, Pu Lianchheuva and his friends began to favour the Catholic faith and decided to take some steps for the spreading of the faith among the Mizo. Pu Lianchheuva, Pu Thangphunga, Pu Lenga, Pu Chalchhuna and Pu Lalbana held a meeting on 1st February 1925 and decided to profess and practice the Catholic faith. Members of their families also joined the faith.
They soon made personal contact with the Parish Priest of Chittagong, Rev Fr Bouley C.S.C. who agreed to pay a visit to Aizawl. He arrived at Aizawl on 28th November 1925 and stayed on there for eight days. On 6th December 1925 he baptized two children, J.F. Laldailova, son of Thangphunga and Lalbiakthangi, daughter of Lenga, to become the first Catholics baptized in Mizoram.
The Catholic members increased rapidly. In 1926 they became more than 200 members. They built a church with thatched roof in 1927 at Kulikawn, Aizawl, where Christ the King Cathedral is now located.
The spread of the Catholic faith soon became a matter of bad taste to other denominations. Their leaders even succeeded to convince the Governor of Assam with the help of the Superintendent of Lushai Hills to refuse any entry of Catholic Missionaries into Mizoram. This ban continued to be enforced till the end of 1946. Fortunately a new Governor, Sir Henry Knight took office and solved the problem of barring the entry of Catholic Missionaries into Mizoram. In December 1946, he issued an Order allowing Catholic Missionaries to enter into Mizoram.
Soon after the Governor's Order was issued Rev Fr A de Montigny C.S.C. and Rev Fr Robert Lavoie C.S.C. came to Aizawl on 13th January 1947 to study the possibility of installing a mission station at Aizawl. After a week's stay they left Aizawl for Silchar. To follow up their reports, the Bishop of Chittagong sent Rev Fr George Breen C.S.C, assisted by Rev Bro Gilbert Boucher C.S.C. to establish a mission station at Aizawl. They arrived at Aizawl on 15th April 1947 and made their settlement at Kulikawn. This day 115th April 1947 is therefore remembered as the official birthday of the Catholic Church in Mizoram.
Till 1952, Mizoram was under the Diocese of Chittagong. When the Prefecture Apostolic of Haflong was created on 17th January 1952, Mizoram came under this Prefecture. The Prefecture Apostolic of Haflong became a Diocese of Silchar on 29th June 1969, comprising the entire states of Mizoram, Tripura and the three districts of Assam, namely, Cachar, North Cachar and Hailakandi. Most Rev Denzil D'Souza became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Silchar. On 7th February 1996, the Diocese of Silchar became Diocese of Aizawl and the Diocesan See was transferred from Silchar to Aizawl.
The Catholic Church in Mizoram has grown from a single Parish to fifteen Parishes during a span of fifty years. Parishes in Mizoram at present (i.e. 2000 AD) are:
- 1. Christ the King Cathedral Parish, Kulikawn -1947
- 2. St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Chhingchhip -1951
- 3. St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Kolasib -1953
- 4. Our Lady of Assumption Parish, Serchhip -1976
- 5. Parish of Holy Cross, Champhai -1979
- 6. Parish of Sacred Heart, Lunglei -1983
- 7. Parish of Mary Help of Christians, Saiha -1993
- 8. St. Mary's Parish, Electric Veng, Aizawl -1993
- 9. St. John Bosco's Parish, Seling -1993
- 10. St. Francis Xavier's Parish, Kanhmun -1995
- 11. St. John Bosco's Parish, Lawngtlai -1998
- 12. St. John's Parish, Khawzawl -1998
- 13. St. Paul's Parish, Sihphir -1999
- 14. St. Thomas' Parish, Ramhlun -1999
- 15. St. Francis Xavier's Parish, Mamit -2000
The Catholic Church in Mizoram is not only catering to the spiritual needs but also for the temporal needs of the people of Mizoram. The Church therefore works to promote education, peace, social justice, social health etc. The Church makes a very significant contribution in the field of education by running more than thirty educational institutions in the state, three Higher Secondary, five Secondary and more than twenty Elementary schools. Besides these the Church runs dispensaries, technical schools, charity homes, social work centers, printing presses, hostels etc.
During these past decades the Catholic Church in Mizoram had made significant strides towards adulthood by contributing many of her sons and daughters as Missionaries to carry on the various apostolic activities of the Church. There are, as of now, six priests, more than fifty Religious Sisters and half a dozen Religious Brothers among the Mizo, serving in the vineyard of the Lord in different parts of India and abroad.