St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral, Panbazar, Guwahati-781001, Assam >> Click to Locate Us

The Shepherds
     
Bishop Orester Marengo SDB DD
Archbishop Hubert Rosario SDB DD
Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil SDB DD

The Pastors

Rev. Fr. Patrick Burns SDB
1969-1973
Rev. Fr. K.M. Mathew SDB
1973-1979
Rev. Fr. P.J. Thomas SDB
1979-1985
Rev. Fr. Elias Kerketta SDB
1979-1989
Rev. Fr. Cheruvalel Lukose SDB
1989-1991
Rev. Fr. K.O. Augustine SDB
1991-1995
Rev. Fr. Albano D'
Melo SDB
1995-2003
Rev. Fr. P.M. Mathew SDB
2003-2006
Rev. Fr. Mark Lakra SDB
2006-
 

St. Joseph’s Church Guwahati has completed 100 years of fruitful journey beginning from the 1st day of January 1910, the day when Fr. Edward Hackenbrosch laid the foundation stone of St. Joseph’s Church, Panbazar, Guwahati.

Guwahati has been the nerve centre of the catholic missionaries in the Northeastern region. As a gateway to the region, Guwahati has witnessed the coming and going of many pioneer Catholic missionaries from the various countries of the world. While several of them passed through the city on their way to other destinations, quite a few of them remained and worked here. According to the records available, the first Catholic missionaries to arrive in Assam were two Portuguese Jesuits – Fr. John Cabral and Stephen Cacella who arrived in Hajo and Pandu (Guwahati) on September 26, 1662. They were on their way to Tibet.

In June 1850, three French missionaries of the Institute of Foreign Missions of Paris, Fr. Julien Robin, Fr. Nicholas Michael Krick and Fr. Louis-Marie-Noel Bernard reached Guwahati. They set up chapels in Guwahati and Nowgong and served the Catholic community, which consisted mostly of Europeans and Anglo-Indians.

In 1870, the Catholic missions of Central Bengal were elevated to a prefecture (an administrative division in the Catholic Church) with North Bengal and Assam as a part of the new administrative territory. Monsignor Antonio Marietti was appointed as Prefect Apostolic to administer this region. Mg. Marietti chose Fr. Jacopo Broy, a member of the Foreign, Missions of Milan was sent to Guwahati. Fr. Broy arrived in Guwahati on June 10, 1872 after an adventurous journey of 20 days.

In 1877 Fr. Broy built a Church in Guwahati, he dedicated this church to Saint Joseph, the Universal Patron of the Church. The church in Panbazar is known to this day as the St. Joseph’s Church after the name given by Fr. Broy. The church was built of wood and bamboo and it was later destroyed by termites. Fr. Broy traveled extensively on foot, horse, steamer and other means of travel to visit places like Nowgong, Jorhat, Golaghat, Sibsagar, Dibrugarh, Joypur, Tinsukia, Doom Dooma, Margherita and other areas of the region. He toured all districts of Assam at least once a year despite enormous difficulties. Being the only Catholic priest in the whole Northeast India, he felt the pang of lonliness. However, the love of Christ and the call to serve the people of the region kept him going, it is recorded that inspite of all difficulties he faced, he was always cheerful. After 18 years of his untiring service, Fr. Broy left Assam in June 1890 to join the Jesuit Society and later died in Barackpore in 1898.

The region was entrusted to the care of German society of missionaries, in October 1906 Fr. Rudolf Fontaine and Fr. Gallus Schob, both German Salvatorian missionaries came to stay and work in Guwahati. They began their work among the Anglo-Indian and Adivasi Catholics who migrated to Assam as tea garden labourers. In 31 January 1908, Fr. Edward Hackenbrosch was posted in Guwahati.

On January 1, 1910, the foundation stone of the new church at Guwahati was laid by Fr. Edward Hackenbrosch the construction was completed and Fr. Angelus Munzolher, Vicar to the Prefect Apostolic, solemnly blessed the church on 27 November 1910.

After the World War I, the Jesuit missionaries from Calcutta were sent to take care of the Christians scattered in Assam Fr. A Boone and after him Stanislaus Carberry worked in Guwahati  and looked after the work in the Brahmaputra Valley. In 1919 Bro. Brisson, a Holy Cross Brother, came to help them. He stayed on until the arrival of the Salesians. In 1922, the Holy See in Rome entrusted Assam to the Salesians. The first batch of Salesians of Don Bosco arrived in Guwahati on 12 January 1922.

Fr. Leo Piasecki, a Salesian missionary from Poland was appointed in 1923 to head the Guwahati centre and carry forward the pastoral activities of the community. Fr. Piasecki started schools and built churches in several places in Assam. In 1926, he established in Guwahati, an orphanage and started a carpentry school for the poor boys of Assam. Ever since the educational scenario of Assam and the region has undergone a sea change with various educational institutions started by the Salesian Missionaries for the integral development of the youth of Assam.  

In 1988, the Salesians of Don Bosco decided to build a bigger church to cater to its growing community. The St. Joseph’s Church which was built by the Salvatorian Missionaries in 1910 stood the test of time for more than seven decades was pulled down on October 1988, the foundation stone for the present church was laid by Archbishop Hubert D’Rosario of Shillong. On 6 October 1990 the present Church was blessed by Archbishop Rosario SDB, DD.

On 16 August 1992, Guwahati was erected as a Diocese with Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, SDB as its first Bishop, St. Joseph’s Church was elevated as the Cathedral church. The Catholic community in Guwahati has grown over the years in this premier city of the Northeast. The community and its institutions continue to serve the people in many ways, especially through education, health care and other developmental needs of the people.

This year being the Centenary year of the foundation of St. Joseph’s Church, Panbazar, Guwahati, the organizing committee has chalked out a year-long programme for the celebration. The Centenary Celebration will begin with an Inaugural Ceremony with hoisting of St. Joseph’s flag on 28 February 2010, Sunday at 8.30 AM, followed by a solemn Eucharistic celebration by the members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and hundreds of faithful will partake in this solemn ceremony.

Fr. Mark Lakra, sdb
Parish Priest
St. Joseph’s Church

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