St. Aloysius Gonzaga St. Alphonsus Rodriguez St. Stanislaus Kostka St. Robert Bellarmine St. Peter Claver St. Peter Canisius St. John de Britto St. John Berchmans St. Ignatius of Loyola St. Francis Xavier St. Francis Jerome St. Francis Borgia St. Edmund Campion



News First Thanksgiving Eucharist of Pankaj Kujur, S.J., on 29 December 2017 at Mariam Tola, Sauri Chakla Priestly Ordination: Deacon Pankaj Kujur, S.J., on 28 December 2017 at Sauri Chakla

History


SANTAL MISSION

The Sicilian Province of the Society of Jesus which covered Sicily, Malta and Greece requested Father General Wladimir Ledochowski in 1923 that it be assigned a mission of its own. The Belgian Province of the Society of Jesus responsible for the Bengal Mission in India, Galle in Sri Lanka and the Congo in Africa was also looking for help for the Bengal Mission. Fr.General invited the Sicilian Province to work in the Bengal Mission which it readily accepted with great enthusiasm.

The first contingent of three Jesuits Fr. Anthony Debono, Scholastics Joseph Cordaro SJ and Bernard Bugeja SJ, reached the shores of India on 4th October 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, on 9 March 1925 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. Thus began the Santal Mission.

The second group consisting of Fr. Benjamin Cauchi SJ, Scholastics John Mallia Milanes and Joseph Portelli and Br. Rosario Milito SJ arrived in India on 5th October 1926. In 1930 the Archbishop of Calcutta, Mgr. Ferdinand Perier SJ, and the Jesuit Superior of the Bengal Mission, Fr. Walter Veys SJ assigned Fr. Benjamin Cauchi to pioneer the establishment of the Church in Santal Parganas. He reached Pakur railway station on 7th January 1930, lived for a time at Hiranpur and Kasturi, and finally on 28th May 1930 settled for good at Monglapara village near Pakur at the invitation of the headman 'Manjhi'. Fr.Cauchi set himself the task of organizing the first mission station at Monglapara and built with mud and thatched roof a residence, a school, and a church. He was soon joined by Fr. John Grech Cumbo SJ and a little later by Fr.Joseph Cordaro SJ. Unfortunately in 1933, by court order the Mission had to close down and the structures had to be demolished. But undaunted, the Fathers moved three kilometers away to Torai village where they acquired land and could rebuild the mission centre without anxiety.

Fr. Cauchi had already left his companions in charge at Monglapara and began making his way towards Dumka, the capital of Santal Parganas District. In 1932, Fr.Cauchi settled temporarily in the village of Sibnagor and 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 with bungalows at Dudhani, two kilometers away from Dumka on the Bhagalpur road.

In June 1934, Fr. John Grech Cumbo SJ settled in a hired house near Tinpahar railway station. He acquired land in Mundli village nearby and in 1936 took up residence in a newly built bungalow. On 29th July 1936 the first four mission stations of Dudhani, Guhiajori, Tinpahar, and Torai in Santal Parganas were erected into parishes. Fr.John Grech Cumbo SJ built churches at Sahibganj and Tinpahar and these were blessed on 14 February 1938 and 8 December 1939 respectively.

In 1948 Fr. Anthony Debono arrived at Kanconala in the Sultanabad area and began touring the villages and visiting catholic families. On 7th May 1949 Fr.Debono shifted to Chilimpur village in Birbhum district of West Bengal and settled there. Chilimpur Mission was raised to a parish in 1952.

In June 1946, Fr. Joseph Portelli SJ, parish priest of Tinpahar launched the Santali monthly magazine MARSALTABON. Then in 1949 Fr.Portelli was appointed District Superior of the Santal Mission which comprised the districts of Santal Parganas and Purnea, both in Bihar. The Silver Jubilee of the Santal Mission was celebrated in 1950 at Majlispur and a Souvenir was published to commemorate the event. In the same year 1950, a Hindi medium High School was established at Guhiajori. St.John Berchmans High School was established AT Mundli, Tinpahar in 1954 .

In 1929 the Sisters of Charity of Sts Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa, known also as the Sisters of Maria Bambina were the first congregation to establish a convent to help the Jesuits in the Santal mission. The Sisters of St.Anne of Calcutta, the second congregation of Sisters to come to the Santal Mission, arrived in 1954 at Tinpahar to collaborate with the Jesuits.



SANTAL REGION:

The Bengal Mission with headquarters in Calcutta was established as a Vice-Province in 1956 and the Santal Mission, with 16 Jesuits in the mission and 25 in formation, became an independent Santal Region attached to Calcutta Vice-Province. Fr.Joseph Portelli SJ was appointed the first Regional Superior. He set up his office at Xavier House, Sahibganj. In 1965, the office was shifted to St.Ignatius also at Sahibganj. In 1983 the Superior's office was shifted to Jisu Jaher, the Jesuit Novitiate at Dudhani, Dumka and in 1987 the Superior's Curia had its own house next to the Novitiate.

1957 In January, Boge Juda, the Region's Newsletter began publication. It was renamed Santal Region Newsletter in 1973.
Also in January, Xavier School was inaugurated at Sahibganj. The name was changed to St.Xavier's School in 1960.
1959 Debono Memorial School was started at Chilimpur.
1960 St. Xavier's School Boarding at Sahibganj was started at Nellie Villa. A year and a half later, it was shifted to St.Xavier's School campus.
1961 Fr. Anthony Savona was appointed the 2nd Regional Superior soon after his arrival in India from Malta.
1962 Pope John XXIII erected 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 Prefecture was suppressed. The first bishop Mgr Leo Tigga SJ of Ranchi Mission was ordained bishop in Malta on 7th October 1962. Bishop Leo set up his office at Xavier House, Sahibganj and in November 1965 shifted his residence and office to St.Ignatius Sahibganj and eventually he set up his residence at Dudhani, Dumka in 1969.
1964 May: Fr. Joseph Borg SJ took up residence in Talbaria village. In 1968 Talbaria parish was entrusted to the Society.
1966 An Apostolic School was established at Guhiajori. The Daughters of the Sacred Heart from Jhansi joined the Jesuits at St. Xavier's School, Sahibganj.
1967 Fr. Lawrence Caruana was appointed the Regional Superior.
1969 Gandhi Jayanthi Middle School opened at Mariampahar.
1970 A hostel for tribal boys attending St. Xavier's School was started at Nellie Villa with the name of St.Ignatius Hostel.
1972 Loyola Hostel, Mundli, Tinpahar was inaugurated.
Fr. Alfred Agius took over as the 4th Regional Superior.
1974 The formation of Candidates for the Society of Jesus and the Diocese of Dumka began at the Apostolic School Guhiajori, with Fr.Cecil Azzopardi as Director. The following year Candidates' House was shifted to Purnea, and named Vinay Bhavan with Fr.Salvino Briffa as Director. He was succeeded by Fr.Henry Schembri, under whom the Candidates were shifted from Purnea to the newly built Vinay Bhavan Candidates' House at Sahibganj in January 1982.
1975 January: The Holy Cross Sisters arrived at Mariampahar and were given the administration of Gandhi Jayanti Middle School.
1976 September: An inter-diocesan Catechists Training Centre at Torai was blessed and inaugurated by Bishop Leo Tigga SJ. Its first Director was Fr.Paul Aquilina SJ.
1977 On 29 June 1977 ten new novices started their novitiate. Fr.Cecil Azzopardi SJ was the Novice master. He was also appointed Vice Rector and later Rector. The same day, a group of seven juniors also began their Juniorate studies under the care of Fr.Emmanuel Stellini , the Prefect of Studies. Juniorate was discontinued later.
Fr. General, Pedro Arrupe canonically established the House called Jisu Jaher by a Decree issued on 4 March 1977. On 5 March 1977 he issued a Degree establishing a Novitiate at Jisu Jaher.
1978 November: Dumka Diocese was bifurcated and the new diocese of Raiganj was established in West Dinajpur and Malda districts of West Bengal. Bishop Leo Tigga was appointed its first bishop.
Fr. John Scicluna took over as the 5th Regional Superior.
1979 January: A printing press named “Chapasal' was started at Tinpahar with Br.Benjamin Sarupurthi as Incharge. It was shifted to Sahibganj in January 1981 and renamed 'Vinay Press'.
1980 Talbaria Mission was shifted to nearby Sitapahar hill and renamed Mariampahar Mission.
February 2: A memorial Church to commemorate 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.
Tinpahar Parish passed into the hands of the diocese.
November 30: Hathimara, a sub-station of Chilimpur, was established as a Quasi- Parish and entrusted to the Society of Jesus.
1981 March: Santal Region celebrated its Silver Jubilee.
June: St. Stanislaus Middle School was started at Hathimara.
1982 Fr. Emmanuel Stellini took over as the 6th Regional Superior.
Krist Raja Primary School was established at Nunbhatta, a substation of Hathimara Parish.
1983 May: Fr. P.A. Chacko initiated the Paharia apostolate at Daharlangi and later shifted to the nearby village of Satia. The Satia Centre was built and inaugurated in 1985.
1985 Fr. Tom Kavalakatt and Scholastic Michael Raj settled at Kodma, following the tragic death of Anthony Murmu (ex-Jesuit social activist) and 14 other santals at Banjhi by police firing on 19th April 1985.
1986 October: The Santal Region members for the first time elected their representatives to attend the Provincial Congregation of Calcutta Province.
1987 Raiganj Diocese makes over to the Society, Majlispur Parish and St.Ignatius High School.
July 16: The Carmelite Sisters of St.Teresa arrived at Hathimara to collaborate in the works of the mission.


DUMKA-RAIGANJ PROVINCE
1989 February 15: Dumka-Raiganj Province was established with Fr.Angelus Kujur as its first Provincial.
1990 Jeevan Jyothi School and Hostel were established in Satia for Paharia children.
1992 Puranakeshri was established with Fr.K.M.Jacob SJ as the first resident priest.
Jeevan Dhara Spirituality Centre at Chotuparua, Raiganj was established. Fr. Cecil Azzopardi was appointed as its first Director.
1993 Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach visited the Province.
Fr.Anthony Scerri settled at Nichamari to pioneer a new mission carved out of Majlispur.
A Socio-legal Centre with Fr. PA. Chacko as its First Director was established in the annex to the Curia at Jisu Jaher, Dudhani, Dumka. The centre was closed down in 1998. In 2000, it was revived at the new location near LIC with the new name of JOHAR, Human Resources Development (HRD) Centre.
1994 Alternative Health Clinic, the inspiration of Fr. M.J.Peter SJ, took off at Chilimpur Mission. It was shifted to a new building named INIGOBARI, at Kalidanga, five kilometers away from Rampurhat on the Dumka road on 6 September 2001.
1995 29th June : Fr.James Aril succeeded Fr.Angelus as Provincial.
1996 A mission station at Murguni began with Fr. Julian Cachia.
September: Loyola Sadan, the Jesuit Prenovitiate was set-up at Sonabari, Raiganj, with the first batch of 15 prenovices and Fr.Christopher Ekka as the first Director. The house was blessed on 15th October 1996 by Bishop Alphonse D'Souza SJ and officially inaugurated by the Provincial James Aril.
1998 August : Dumka diocese was once more divided with the erection of the new diocese of Purnea.
December 28: Bishop Julius Marandi confirmed the decision of his predecessor that Jibonpur parish be owned and administered by the Society of Jesus.
1999 June: St.Xavier's School (English Medium) at Telghani, Raiganj inaugurated with Fr.Varghese Palli as the first Principal and 400 students.
August: Bishop Julius Marandi acceded to the request of Father Provincial and entrusted Deopur Mission to the Jesuits for 20 years.
2000 Santal Mission celebrated its Platinum Jubilee. The semi-annual Conference of Jesuits of SouthAsia (JCSA) held its week-long meeting at Jeevan Dhara, Raiganj, at which Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach was present. Father General and the Conference attended the solemn celebration of the Santal Mission Platinum Jubilee at Majlispur on 7th March. He blessed the newly constructed Boys' Hostel at Majlispur and inaugurated it.
Fr.Anthony LaGreca Memorial Tribal Hostel, attached to St.Xavier's, Raiganj, was inaugurated.
The Sisters of St.Anne, Ranchi, arrived at Nichamari to collaborate with the Jesuits in mission.
2001 January 16: a Socio-Pastoral Centre, Asha Deep was established at Bathbanga for the welfare of the Paharias.
July 15: IBVM Sisters (later CJ sisters) set foot in Bathbanga to collaborate with the Jesuits.
St.Xavier's Hindi medium School at Sahibganj commenced with Fr.Michael Minj as the first Headmaster.
At the invitation of Sri Murki Paharia, the village headman, a Mission Centre was opened at Banpokharia. Jivan Jyoti School for Paharia children commenced in March under a shed built for this purpose by the Mission and the village. Later in 2006, the school was closed and in its stead, Labani Aweli Hostel was set up.
July : Fr. Varghese Puthussery assumed the office of Provincial.
2003 June: Jitarpur, a substation of Alampur Parish, Raiganj Diocese, was entrusted to the Jesuits by Bishop Alphonse D'Souza SJ.
St.John Berchman's Inter-College at Mundli was inaugurated.
The Sisters of St.Anne's Ranchi arrived in Sahibganj to collaborate at St.Xavier's School (Hindi).
Sisters of St.Joseph of Chambery arrived at Deopur to collaborate with the Jesuits.
2004 The Sisters of St.Charles Borromeo arrived at Murguni to collaborate with the Jesuits.
May: A mission centre, later named DEEP SHIKHA, was established at Kamalkardih village in Karon in Deoghar District with Fr.Alban Minj SJ as the pioneer.
A new mission centre Nunbatta, detached from Hathimara parish, was named 'Jisu Ashram,' and Fr.Peter Marandi became the first resident priest of the centre.
2005 April: The Sisters of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate (CIC) took up residence at DEEP SHIKHA, Karon to collaborate in the mission.
The FCC Sisters joined the Jesuits to collaborate with them at Puranakeshri.
May: A Hindi medium School, St.Xavier's, was inaugurated at Karon under the supervision of the CIC sisters.
2006 Fr. Andrew Koluvan began to reside at Nichitpur, a substation of Majlispur, to develop it into a new mission station entrusted to the Jesuits.
Gonzaga Sadan, the Candidates' House was inaugurated at Mundli, Tinpahar. It houses Jesuit and diocesan candidates pursuing their plus two studies in the Inter College.
2007 April : Rev.Fr.Angelus Kujur of Dumka-Raiganj Province was ordained the second Bishop of Purnea.
A Bengali High School was started at Nichitpur with Fr.Davis Chittooparambil SJ as its first Headmaster.
August 16: 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.
A hostel for girls attending St.Xavier's Hindi School, was blessed and inaugurated at Sahibganj and entrusted to the management of the St.Anne's Sisters.
2008 April: a church at Murguni, dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel was blessed by Rt. Rev.Julius Marandi of Dumka.
May : Fr. Nirmal Raj assumed the office of Provincial.
2009 20 June: Sisters of St.Joseph of Chambery arrived at Baghmara to collaborate in mission.
6 July: St.Xavier's English medium School was inaugurated at Baghmara, Purnea under the management of the Sisters of St.Joseph of Chambery.
The Sisters of the Daughters of the Cross arrived at Tinpahar to collaborate with the Jesuits in mission.
2011 June: SCJM Sisters arrived at Satia to collaborate in mission.
August 3 : St.Xavier's College was blessed and inaugurated. Regular classes started on 16th August, with Fr.Varghese Pallipalakatt as Principal. The Science stream was introduced in 2012.
12 October: At Chilimpur, the new church building dedicated to St.John de Britto was solemnly blessed by Bishop Julius Marandi assisted by Bishop Angelus Kujur of Purnea.
2012 April: A hostel was opened for tribal students at Baghmara, Purnea.
2013 14 April: A hostel for tribal girls was blessed and inaugurated at Karon.