The first contingent of three Jesuits, led by Fr.Anthony Debono SJ, reached the shores of India in late 1924. Without wasting time, Fr.Debono went to Dinajpur, now in Bangladesh, to be initiated into the Santal culture and language by the PIME Fathers. After a few months at Dinajpur, Fr.Debono made straight for the village of Majlispur, then in Purnea district, where the Church had some land and there he settled among the Santals. Soon other Jesuits joined him and the work of establishing the Church got underway in real earnest. In 1929, at his invitation, the Sisters of Charity of Sts Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa, known also as the Sisters of Maria Bambina, whom he had met at Dinajpur, established a convent at Majlispur and joined in the enterprise of establishing and nurturing the Church among the Santals.
The Archbishop of Calcutta, Mgr. Ferdinand Perrier SJ, the Founder of the Santal Mission, and the Jesuit Superior of the Bengal Mission, Fr.Walter Veys SJ assigned Fr.Benjamin Cauchi SJ to pioneer the establishment of the Church in Santal Parganas. Fr.Cauchi SJ, who had arrived with the second batch of missionaries in 1926, crossed the Ganges and reached Pakur railway station on 7th January 1930.
The headman 'manjhi' of Monglapara village invited him to set up a mission there. Hence a few months after his arrival in Santal Parganas, Fr.Cauchi set himself the task of organizing the first mission station by building with mud and thatched roof, a multipurpose hall, a church and a hut for himself and his companions. His first concern was to choose and groom catechists to help him in his work. Meanwhile Fr. John Grech Cumbo SJ joined him from Majlispur and Fr.Joseph Cordaro SJ, soon after ordination. Unfortunately in 1933, by court order the Mission had to close down and the structures demolished. But undaunted, the Fathers moved one kilometer away to Torai village where they acquired land and could rebuild the mission without any anxiety.
Fr. Cauchi had already left his companions in charge at Monglapara and began making his way southwards towards Dumka, the capital of Santal Parganas District. In 1932, Fr.Cauchi settled temporarily in the village of Sibnagor from where he scouted for land for future mission stations. Eventually he got land in the village of Guhiajori, nine kilometers away from Dumka on the Pakur road and another two adjacent plots of land at Dudhani, two kilometers away from Dumka on the Bhagalpur road. The Silver Jubilee of the Santal Mission in 1950 was celebrated at Majlispur and a Souvenir was published to commemorate the event.
In 1956 the Santal Mission became the Santal Region and, once again, Fr.Joseph Portelli SJ was appointed the first Regional Superior. In 1962 Pope John XXIII erected The Santal Mission into the Diocese of Dumka including the Prefecture of Malda which ceased to exist. The first bishop Mgr Leo Tigga SJ was ordained bishop at Malta on 7th October 1962. From there he proceeded to Rome to take part in the opening ceremony of Vatican II.
Besides the first parishes established in 1936 at Dudhani, Guhiajori, Tinpahar, and Torai, other parishes were set up at Chilimpur and Islampur in 1952 each with its own primary school to facilitate the education of children. Other mission stations opened at Jamtara, Hathimara, and Kanjwae. Two Hindi medium High Schools were functioning at Guhiajori (1950) and at Tinpahar (1962) and an English medium School at Sahibganj (1956). After the formation of the diocese, besides the opening of new missions at Talbaria, Asanbani, Jiapani, and Kundli. Centres for Formation were started, the Apostolic School at Guhiajori (1966), Catechists Training Centre (inter-diocesan) at Torai in September 1976, and Vinay Bhavan for Jesuit and diocesan Candidates at Purnea (1975) later shifted to Sahibganj in 1982. Raiganj Diocese is established in November 1978 with Bishop L.Tigga as its first bishop.
HISTORY OF DUMKA-RAIGANJ PROVINCE
The first group of three consisted of Fr.Anthony Debono SJ, ands Scholastics Joseph Cordaro SJ and Bernard Bugeja SJ. The second group arrived in 1926 and consisted of Fr.Benjamin Cauchi SJ, Scholastics John Mallia Milanes and Joseph Portelli and Br. Rosario Milito SJ. In 1930 Fr.Benjamin Cauchi was assigned by Archbishop Ferdidand Perrier SJ and the Bengal Mission Superior Fr.Veys SJ to start work in Santal Parganas District.
In 1949, Fr.Joseph Portelli SJ, parish priest of Tinpahar was appointed the District Superior of the Santal Mission which comprised the districts of Santal Parganas and Purnea , both in Bihar. In 1956 the Santal Mission became the Santal Region and, once again, Fr.Joseph Portelli SJ was appointed the first Regional Superior. His office was first established at Xavier House, Sahibganj; then in 1970 it was shifted to St.Ignatius also at Sahibganj. In 1983 the Provincial Curia was shifted to the Jesuit Novitiate at Dudhani, Dumka. Eventually in 1987 the Curia had its own house next to the Novitiate. In 1962, Pope John XXIII erected the Santal Mission into the Diocese of Dumka comprising the districts of Santal Parganas and Purnea in Bihar and West Dinajpur and Malda districts in West Bengal. The erstwhile Malda Prefacture was suppressed. The first bishop of Dumka Diocese was Rev.Fr. Leo Tigga SJ of Ranchi Mission and he was ordained bishop in Malta.
In March 1981 the Santal Region celebrated its Silver Jubilee. A printing press was started at Tinpahar in 1979 under Br.Benjamin Sarupurti SJ and later it was shifted to Sahibganj under the name of Vinay Press. The aim was to facilitate the printing of Santali religious literature in Santali script. Paharia apostolate was initiated by Fr.P.A.Chacko SJ in 1983 at Daharlangi. Later the centre shifted to the village of Satia nearby. In 1984 the Jesuits began to increase their presence in Raiganj diocese with the acceptance of Majlispur parish and St.Ignatius High School. In October 1986, Santal Region members for the first time elected their own members to attend the Provincial Congregation at Calcutta.. On 15 February 1989 Dumka-Raiganj Province was established with Fr.Angelus Kujur SJ as its first Provincial.
Short history of each mission & Activities
BAGHMARA: On the invitation of the first Bishop of Purnea, Mgr.Vincent Barua, the Society of Jesus opened a Spirituality Centre, named Navjeevan, at Baghmara near Purnea town on 16th August 2007. Frs Thomas Kyzhively SJ and George Beck were assigned to the Centre. Soon the local people requested to have a school for imparting good education to their children. An English medium School was inaugurated on 20th June 2009 under the management of the Sisters of Chambery with Sisters Sushana and Bimla in charge. The school shifted to the newly constructed building on 20th June 2011. The Spirituality Centre organizes courses, seminars, recollections and retreats at the Centre for various categories of people. It serves in a special way Purnea diocese. Fr George Beck is the Director, John M. Chettiyathara Assistant and Silas Toppo is in the pastoral ministry scouting for a suitable area to start a new mission. St.Xavier's English School has 302 students (24 catholic) and 71 in hostel.
BANPOKHARIA: At the invitation of Sri Murki Paharia, the village headman, Centre at Bonpakharia was started in 2001 by Fr.Mathew Ezhakunnel SJ, Director of Paharia Samaj Sewa Kendra of Satia. Jivan Jyoti School was started for Paharia children under a shed built for this purpose by the Mission and the village. The first resident priest on 2nd September 2005 was Fr.Gilbert D'Souza SJ. The following year the School's name was changed to LABANI AWELI SCHOOL and had on its rolls 58 children. In 2008 a multipurpose hall was built as also a residence for the Jesuits. LABANI AWELI HOSTEL for boys replaced the school and the following year girls were accommodated in a suitable hostel. The children attend a government school. The MISSION and VISION Statement drawn up by Fr.Gilbert focuses on education, health-care, social development and evangelization.
BATHBANGA: On 16th January 2001, the pioneers Frs Varghese Puthussery SJ and Abraham Edassery SJ opened ASHA DEEP Socio-Pastoral Centre and ARRUPE SCHOOL with the Primary section having 320 students both Paharias and Santals of the area on its rolls and the High School section with 140 students. A hostel attached to the school housed 150 Paharia children. Fr.Puthussery appointed Provincial in March 2001 was replaced by Fr.Ignatius Soren SJ. On 15th July 2001, two IBMV (later CJ) Sisters Kiran and Vibha joined the team. The first batch of students sat for the matriculation examination in 2005 and did very well. In mid 2009, Fr.Michael Minj SJ took over as Director of the Centre and also Headmaster of Arrupe School. One Jesuit has been assigned to take care of the pastoral apostolate among Paharias.
CHILIMPUR: Early on the pioneers of Santal Mission wanted to open a mission station in Sultanbad but came up against many difficulties. In April 1948 Fr.Anthony Debono arrived at Kanconala from Torai and began touring the villages and visiting catholic families. On 7th May 1949 Fr.Debono shifted to Chilimpur village and settled there. He was soon joined by Fr.Michael Galea SJ who undertook to build the first pukka church which was solemnly blessed on 11th November 1956 by the Provincial of Calcutta, Fr. F. Timmermans SJ. The Sisters of Charity arrived in Chilimpur in 1963 and opened a hospital in 1967. The Debono Memorial School was started in 1959 and new hostels for Boys and Girls were built in 1983. The new parish church dedicated to St.John de Britto SJ was blessed in 2011 by Bishop Julius Marandi .
DEOPUR: In 1998 Father Provincial requested the Bishop to detach Deopur from Hathimara and entrust it to the Society. Fr.A.Zammit, settled in Deopur and began fostering Small Christian Communities. In August 1999, Bishop Julius acceeded to the request of Father Provincial and handedover Deopur to the Society for 20 years. The Sisters of St.Joseph of Chambery arrived at Deopur in 2003 at the invitation of the Jesuits. Nirmala School and the dispensary were entrusted in their hands. In 2011 the girls moved into a newly constructed hostel built for them and the Sisters moved in along with them.
Jisu Jaher Novitiate: On 4th April 1977, Fr.Pedro Arrupe issued the official decree erecting Jisu Jaher as a house of the Society and the following day as a novitiate. Fr.Cecil Azzopardi was appointed Vice Rector and approved as the first novice master of the Santal Region. On 29th June Fr.Cecil along with Fr.P.A.Chacko, minister and Socius, and ten novices moved into the new building still under construction. Soon they were joined by 7 Juniors who had just completed their novitiate in various parts of the country. These began their Juniorate under Fr.Emmanuel Stellini.
Provincial's Curia: When the Santal Region f the Society of Jesus was established in 1956, Fr.Joseph Portelli set up his residence at Xavier House, Sahibganj. When Dumka diocese was established in 1962, Bishop Leo Tigga SJ joined Fr.Superior at Xavier House.In November 1965, both Bishop and Superior shifted residence to St.Ignatius, Sahibganj. It was in 1983 that the Regional Superior Fr.Emmanuel Stellini shifted his Curia from Sahibganj to Jisu Jaher , Dudhani. In 1987 the curia was shifted from Jisu Jaher to the adjacent and newly built Superior's Residence. Then in 1998, Provincial's Residence was established as an independent house of the Society.
JOHAR: A Socio-legal Centre was established in 1992 by Fr.P.A.Chacko SJ in the annex to the Curia at Jisu Jaher, Dudhani , Dumka. It 's aim was to make the Jesuits' presence felt in Dumka keeping in mind the needs of the more deprived sections of Dumka town and its immediate vicinity. The work was stalled in 1998 when Fr.Chacko was posted to Satia. After two years, in June 2000, Fr.Chacko was recalled to Dumka and Johar's activities were revived and increased at the new location near LIC. The new JOHAR, Human Resources Development (HRD) Centre started functioning in November 2000.
Maharo, St. Xavier's College: A plot of land was obtained in 2009 at Maharo, around six kilometers from Dumka on the Bhagalpur Road and construction work started in February 2010. Application for affiliation to Sido Kanhu University at Dumka was submitted in January 2011. And from May onwards regular visits were made to HRD Secretariat in Ranchi to follow up the application for affiliation. While work was in progress, the ground floor of St.Xavier's College was blessed on 3rd August 2011 in the presence of a distinguished gathering of personalities, well-wishers, and the small student body. Orientation classes started the next day with eight students. Regular classes started on 16th August with 13 students and three teachers.
HATHIMARA: This sub-station of Chilimpur was established as a Quasi-Parish on 30thNovember 1980 and entrusted to the Society of Jesus. A mud-hut built in 1977 served as the priests' residence till a new one was built in 1986. A new Church building replaced an older one and was dedicated to Our Lady of the Way by Bishop Stephen Tiru on 2nd February 1989 when the parish was also established. St.Stanislaus School was started in June 1981. The Carmelite Sisters of St.Teresa arrived in the mission on 16th July 1987 to collaborate in the work of the mission, pastoral, educational, health-care and social uplift.
JIBONPUR: Bishop Julius Marandi by a letter dated 28 December 1998 confirmed the decision of his predecessor so that Jibonpur parish will be owned and administered by the Society of Jesus. Fr.Gilbert D'Souza SJ was the first resident priest. Development of infrastructure soon got underway along with the care of souls, girls' hostel, church building, etc. Development of the sub-station of Jetke-Durgapur began as well.
JITARPUR: Land was bought at Jitarpur within Alampur parish in 1993 by the paris priest Fr.Linus Xalxo of Raiganj diocese. In 2003 Jitarpur was entrusted to the Jesuits and Fr.Silas Toppo SJ assumed charge. St.John's School school had already been started by Fr.Linus Xalxo. The lone village where Catholics are is Owari, some 35 kms away.
KALIDANGA: Alternative Health Clinic was the inspiration of Fr. M.J.Peter SJ and took off at Chilimpur Mission in 1994 where Fr.Peter was Assistant Pastor. Soon it became widely known and poor and rich alike flocked to Chilimpur in the interior to avail themselves of its services. The need was felt to make it more accessible and so in 1998, 15 bighas of land at Kalidanga were bought and registered. The building was blessed and inaugurated on 6th September 2001 with the name INIGOBARI, five kilometers away from Rampurhat on the Dumka road. In 2006, five rooms built on a small plot of land acquired a year earlier , were blessed in order to accommodate poor patients.
KARON: The land at Kamalkardih village in Karon in Deoghar District was acquired in May 2004. Soon Fr.Alban Minj SJ took up residence there in an old broken room. His first task was to clear the wild bush on the property. In April 2005, two Sisters of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate (CIC) took up residence at DEEP SHIKHA to cooperate in mission. A Hindi medium School , St.Xavier's, was inaugurated in May and a few days later the new convent was blessed and inaugurated .
KODMA: The presence of the Jesuits at Kodma, close to Sahibganj town, owes its beginning to the tragic death of Anthony Murmu (ex-Jesuit social activist) and 14 other Santals at Banjhi by police firing. They assigned Fr.Tom Kavalakatt and Scholastic Michael Raj to render whatever help they could to the Santal Community. The Social Action Centre at Kodma was born. In due course the Sona Santal Samaj Samiti was formed as a people based organization and later on registered as a Society. Conscientization programmes were organized and schools opened in several villages.
MAJLISPUR: The Pioneer of Santal Mission , Fr.Anthony Debono SJ settled among the Santals at Majlispur village, then in the district of Purnea. Soon a school was started and the Sisters of Charity were called to collaborate with the Jesuits in mission especially by taking care of the formation of girls and women. When Santal Mission became a diocese the parish passed in the hands of diocesan priests. In 1987 it was made over to the Society together with St.Ignatius High School.
MARIAMPAHAR: In May 1964 Fr.Joseph Borg SJ took up residence at Talbaria village and in May 1965, Mission Mariampahar was detached from Tinpahar Parish and in 1968 was entrusted to the Society of Jesus. Land was aquired in nearby Sitapahar village and a Middle School was opened in 1969. The Holy Cross Sisters arrived in January 1975 and were given the administration of the Jesuit Gandhi Jayanti Middle School. In 1980 both Sisters and Fathers shifted their residence and the mission to Sitapahar village. A memorial Church to recall Fr.Cauchi's arrival in Santal Parganas in 1930 was solemnly blessed by Bishop Telesphore Toppo and dedicated to The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple on 2nd February 1980. Later Fathers' Residence, Sisters' Convent and Girls' Hostel came up.
MURGUNI: Fr.Julian Cachia SJ acquired in 1992 four acres of land at Murguni near Masanjore Dam. He moved there from Taldangal in 1996.He developed it, first with establishing St.Xavier's School and hostel and then a residence for the priests. The Sisters of St.Charles Borromeo arrived in 2004 to collaborate with the Jesuits in mission. A large church dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmen was blessed by Rt.Rev.Julius Marandi of Dumka in 2008.
NICHAMARI: Fr.Anthony Scerri was assigned to pioneer Nichamari bifurcated from Majlispur and in 1993 he settled there. He acquired land and started building the infrastructure first a large dispensary. Other buildings followed in quick succession, a church dedicated tyo OLady of Peace, the Priests' Residence, St.Joseph's School and hostel. The Sisters of St.Anne, Ranchi, arrived in the year 2000 at Nichamari to collaborate with the Jesuits in mission.
NICHITPUR: A sub-station of Majlispur Parish, a small chapel was built and then enlarged to accommodate the faithful. A primary school was also built to serve the people. In 2006 a Jesuit began to reside at Nichitpur and a Bengali High School was started with Fr.Davis Chittooparambil SJ as its first Headmaster from2007.
NUNBATTA: Established in 2004 by separating it from Hathimara Parish, the first resident priest was Fr.Peter Marandi SJ and the mission was given the name of Jisu Ashram with the intention of fostering prayer and fasting among the faithful. The primary school, established in 1982 by SDC Dumka, became a parish school with the name of Khrist Raja School. Fr.K.M.Jacob SJ was appointed Headmaster in 20 11.
PURANA KESARI: Fr.K.M.Jacob SJ was the first priest to reside at Purana Kesari in 1992 which was acquired one year earlier. The FCC Sisters joined the Jesuits to collaborate with them in mission and in 2005 the blessing took place of a building which houses the Sisters, hostel girls and a large hall. The mission is a socio- pastoral one. The hostel children, boys and girls, attend a government primary school next door.
Jeevan Dhara Spirituality Centre: In 1993, Fr.Cecil Azzopardi was appointed the first Director of the Spirituality Centre with Br. Emmanuel Ainul sj as helper who saw to the material needs. Fr.Cecil began organizing retreats and activities at the Centre. The directors in succession were Frs. Thomas Kuzhively, Ignacy Lazar, Bernard Murmu, Angelus Kujur, George Uthirakulam and Varkey Chenkalayil. Fr.Thomas Kottackal joined in 1996 as Programme Coordinator and fostered the Inner Healing Retreat, Charismatic Retreats, etc.
Loyola Sadan: In September 1996, 15 Pre-Novices moved from the Candidates' House, Vinay Bhavan at Sahibganj to the newly built Loyola Sadan at Sonabari in Raiganj diocese to begin their Pre-Novitiate in the Province under the first appointed Director Fr.Christopher Ekka. The house was blessed on 15th October 1996 by Bishop Alphonse D'Souza SJ and officially inaugurated by the Provincial James Aril (RIP).Every year a number of aspirants , after their Candidacy and Intermediate , proceed to Loyola Sadan to complete their Pre-Novitiate training.
St. Xavier's School: The foundation stone of the new St.Xavier's School at Telghani, Raiganj, was blessed and laid in February 1997 by Rt.Rev.Alphonse D'Souza SJ. Then in June 1999, the new school building was blessed by Bishop Alphonse and the next day inaugurated by by the D.C. of Uttar Dinajpur. Classes began on 25th June with 400 students on the rolls from K.G. Class to and Class V with Fr.Varghese Palli SJ as Principal. In 2000 a tribal hostel was attached to the school and a new building for it was completed. The first batch of 37 students appeared for ICSE in 2005 and did very well. Co-corricular activities were introduced to help the students grow in society.
St.Xavier's School: The site where St.Xavier's School stands was acquired in 1954 by Fr.A.Sammut SJ. It had three bungalows. When the Santal Region was established in 1956, Fr.Joseph Portelli, the first Regional Superior put up his residence there. With the encouragement of Fr.A.Savona the Provincial of Malta, the Region opened Xavier School at Sahibganj in 1957. The name was changed to St.Xavier's School a few years later. The first batch of nine students appeared for ICSE in 1969 when Fr.Emmanuel Stellini SJ was Principal.Another house was acquired, some distance away, and eventually it became St.Ignatius Hostel for tribal boys attending St.Xavier's School.
In 1975 the Daughters of the Sacred Heart from Jhansi joined the Jesuits in mission. A new school building (1962) and other infrastructures including a boys' hostel, a primary school building , and later a computer section were added. A dispensary to serve the school and outsiders was started from the very beginning and later it was rebuilt on a larger scale.The Siver Jubilee celebration of the school saw the new Hall , built to commemorate the Jubilee by Fr.Anthony Gatt SJ, Principal, was inaugurated by Mothyer Teresa of Calcutta on 5th September 1982. It was blessed by the then Bishop of Dumka, Rt.Rev.Telesphore Toppo. During the tenure of Fr.Varghese Palli SJ as Principal another building was added to the school.
To educate the poor and marginalized tribals and other such communities, it was decided to open a Hindi medium School using the same infrastructures of the English medium one. The Principal at the time was Fr.A.Nirmal Raj SJ. The headmaster of the newly established St.Xavier's Hindi medium School was Fr.Michael Minj SJ. The Sisters of St.Anne's Ranchi were called to collaborate in mission in 2003. The first batch of 53 students appeared for the Jharkhand Academic Council Board Exam and all passed in first division. The school premises are available for the Hindi School from 6 am to 10.15 am and for the English School from 10.30 am to 4.35 pm. A large hostel for girls was built in 2007 by Fr.A.Nirmal Raj SJ and is entrusted into the hands of the St.Anne's Sisters. A new and large hostel for boys attending the Hindi medium school was put up in the campus of St.Xavier's and is known as Fr.Oscar Scerri Memprial Hostel.
St.Ignatius' Hostel: A hostel for boys was started at Nellie Villa in 1960 with Sch.Paul Aquilina SJ in charge. One year and a half later it was shilfted to St.Xavier's campur under Sch.Julian Cachia SJ. Later, in 1970, under Fr.Laferla the premises named St.Ignatius Hostel were made available as a hostel for tribals attending St.Xavier's English medium School. For a time, the premises served as the Regional Superior's Residence as well.
Vinay Press: The Santal Region started a printing press at Tinpahar in January 1979 with the aim of facilitating the printing of religious Santali literature in Santal Parganas. Br. Benjamin Sarupurti SJ was appointed director of the 'Chapasal Press'. In January 1981 the printing press was shifted to Sahibganj and renamed Vinay Press. 'Marsaltabon', the santali monthly printed at Catholic Press Ranchi, made its debut from Vinay Press in June 1982. Biblical and devotional books in santali made their appearance from Vinay Press : Nawa Niam , Koejon Puthi, Nawa Rar , Book of Blessings, Santali Ritual, Kuli Ror-Ruar, Santali Grammar, Kurus Hor, Athwar Dewa Sewa, Bancao reak Itihas etc. Vinay Press is still being managed by Br.Benjamin Sarupurti SJ , assisted by Fr.Joe Gauci Sacco SJ
Vinay Bhavan: Candidates' House was born in 1974 when Fr.Cecil Azzopardi SJ was appointed Director of the Apostolic School at St.Joseph's School Guhiajori and at the same time Director of Candidates at the same centre. In 1975 Candidates' centre was shifted to Purnea where Fr.Salvino Briffa SJ became the Director of Vinay Bhavan, Candidates' House, which catered for the Jesuits and the diocese of Dumka alike. A new property was acquired at Sahibganj in Santal Parganas and a new Vinay Bhavan was built so that in January 1982 the location of Candidates' House under Fr.Henry Schembri SI shifted from Purnea to Sahibganj. In 1995 besides learning the English language, the Jesuit candidates began attending Sahibganj College for their A.I. and it was found necessary to bring to an end the joint Jesuit- diocesan programmefor the Candidates.
SATIA: The apostolate among the Paharias was started on 1 May 1983 by Fr.P.A.Chacko SJ. He availed himself of a small building belonging to the diocese at Daharlangi from where he could the Paharias. In 1984 the Pradhan of nearby Satia, a Paharia village, offered land to set up a centre to carry out activities for the uplift of the Paharias. The Satia Centre was built in 1985. Besides getting to know the Paharias, with their history, culture, value systems, aspirations, etc., a programme for social education was drawn up. People based institutions like Gram Sabhas, public distribution system, saving schemes; etc began to take shape along with the development of herbal medicine. In 1990, Jeevan Jyothi School and Hostel was established for Paharia children. In June 2011, the SCJM Sisters arrived at Satia to collaborate with the Jesuits in mission.
TINPAHAR: Fr.John Grech Cumbo SJ in June 1934 settled in a hired house near Tinpahar railway station and began visiting nearby villages. He acquired land in Mundli village nearby and in 1936 took up residence in a newly built bungalow. In December 1939 the newly built parish church of the Immaculate Conception was blessed. In 1942 Fr.Joseph Portelli was appointed parish priest and remained here till he was appointed the first Regional Superior of Jesuit Santal Mission in 1956. During his tenure, St.John Berchmans Middle School got government recognition in 1944; the monthly Santali magazine MARSALTABON made its appearance in 1946 and the Sister of St.Anne of Calcutta arrived in 1954 to collaborate with the Jesuits. They were the second congregation of Sisters to come to the Santal Mission.The High School got its recognition in 1962. A hostel for boys, Loyola Hostel,was inaugurated in 1972. The Parish passed into the hands of the diocesans in 1980. The Inter-College was started in 2003 through the initiative of the High School's Headmaster Fr.Hilarius Anand Tigga SJ. Gonzaga Sadan, the Candidates' House was inaugurated in 2006 and it houses Jesuit as well as diocesan candidates who pursue their PLUS TWO studies at the Inter College. In 2009 the Sisters of the Daughters of the Cross arrived at Tinpahar to collaborate with the Jesuits in mission and in October 2010, Sr.Valeria Ekka FC was appointed the Headmistress of the Middle School.
TORAI: In 1972, at the first Santal Colloquium, Bishops, priests and catechists requested the Jesuit Superior of Santal Mission to open a catechists' training centre or school. Bishop Leo Tigga SJ of Dumka readily made available some mission land in Torai village near Pakur . More adjacent land was acquired and the building started under the supervision of Fr.Lawrence Caruana SJ. The Catechists Training Centre (CTC) was blessed and inaugurated by Bishop Leo Tigga SJ in September 1976 with Fr.Paul Aquilina SJ as its first Director. The first course of two months, in-service training for full-time catechists, started with the inauguration of the inter-diocesan catechists' centre. Numerous dioceses of Bihar (and later also of Jharkhand), Bhagalpur, Dumka, Jamshedpur, Hazaribagh , Calcutta, Raiganj, Purnea, Orissa, Krishnagar, Assam,etc., in the following years, sent their catechists to follow the courses at CTC. For many years also, the centre was the book depot of santali catholic literature.