The diocesan territory stretches over a land area of 6,266 square kilometers and covers the civil district of Dindigul. Dindigul and Palani are the largest towns in the diocese.
The total population in the diocesan area was 1,923,014 as of the end of 2005. Tamils form the majority ethnic group here.
Towns are governed by municipalities, while villages and small towns are administered by local bodies called Panchayats.
The per capita income in the diocesan territory is 18,983 rupees (US$408 as of August 2006). Agriculture, especially paddy cultivation, is done extensively. Dindigul is also famous for its locks and tanneries.
Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area. The diocese enjoys local cable TV networks.
Tamil and English are the languages used.
The diocesan area is well connected in terms of roads and railways. The nearest airport is in Madurai, the second largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The literacy rate here is 69.35 percent.
The Holy Father, John Paul II, erected the new Diocese of Dindigul on November 10, 2003 bifurcating the diocese of Tiruchirapalli and Most. Rev. Antony Pappusamy was installed at the first Bishop of the diocese on December 28, 2003.
Dindigul the 17th diocese in Tamilnadu consists of 37 parishes. In addition to 31 parishes from Tiruchirapalli, 6 parishes were carved out of Madurai Archdiocese and added to the new Dindigul diocese. And there are 56 diocesan priests working in 3 Vicariates which are, Dindigul consisting of 8 parishes, Kosavapatty consiting of 8 parishes and Panjampatty consisting of 11 parishes. After the erection of the diocese 3 more parishes have been created anew. The geographical area of the newly formed Dindigul Diocese is almost co-extensive with the civil administrative area of the Dindigul District in the South Indian State of Tamilnadu. The enumerated catholic population is 1,03,049.
After the death of Bishop Canoz at the age of 83 in 1888, Msgr. John Barthe, S.J. who was consecrated the Bishop of Tiruchirapalli. In 1914, when Bishop Barthe resigned, Msgr. Augustine Faisandier, S.J. who had been his Coadjutor from 1909 succeeded him. In 1923, a portion of the Fishery Coast with 70,000 Catholics was detached from Tiruchirapalli diocese to form the new diocese of Tuticorin and was entrusted to the care of the Diocesan clergy with Msgr. Tiburtius Roche, S.J. as its first Bishop. After the death of Msgr. Augustine Faisandier, S.J. in 1935, Msgr. John Peter Leonard, S.J. was appointed Bishop of Tiruchirapalli in 1936.
In !938, on the centenary year of the New Madurai Mission, the diocese was again divided. The diocese of Tiruchirapalli retained the five civil taluks of Palani, Dindigul, Kulithalai, Tiruchi and Kolathur with a Catholic population of 98,000 with Msgr. James Mendonca as the First Diocesan Bishop of Tiruchi. The rest of the old diocese with 1,60,0000 Catholics was erected as the new diocese of Madurai with Msgr. J.P.Leonard, S.J. as its first Bishop. Fifteen years later in 1953 Madurai diocese was raised to the status of an Archdiocese with Tiruchi, Tuticorin and Kottar as its suffragan Dioceses.
At the time of bifurcation of Madurai Archdiocese from Tiruchirapalli, the Dindigul town and the church in Mettupatti, though still in the Madurai district, remained part of the Tiruchirapalli diocese. Bishop James Mendonca found his diocese large enough to launch the idea of dividing it. Again this idea got strengthened under his successors Bishops Thomas Fernando who was the Apostolic Admistrator of Tiruchirapalli and the division was finally decided by the Holy See during the time of Bishop Antony Devotta on Nov.10, 2003.
Bishop Antony Pappusamy:
Bishop Antony Pappusamy was born on Oct. 1, 1949 in Marambady in Dindigul diocese. He was ordained a priest on July 7, 1976, and ordained Titular Bishop of Zaba on Feb. 4, 1999. He was appointed the first Bishop of Dindigul on Nov. 10, 2003. He was the auxiliary bishop of Madurai Archdiocese before becoming the bishop of Dindigul. He is the chairman of Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council’s commission for Clergy and Religious.
For information or donation contact
Bishop’s House, P.B. No: 62 St.Joseph’s Cathedral Campus, Dindigul – 62400. Tamilnadu, India.
PHONE: 0451-2441405, 2436712 FAX : 0451-2424405
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