History of Kumbakonam Diocese
The diocese of Kumbakonam was born on September 01, 1899. It was bifurcated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry and it was entrusted to the able leadership of MEP. The Diocese is very proud to say that the first two Bishops were from the MEP.
Most Rev. Hugo M. Bottero was appointed as the first Bishop on September 01, 1899. He showed a keen interest in the establishment of the diocese which was facing many challenges and difficulties. Being a Tamil scholar, he translated the entire Bible into Tamil.
Most Rev. Marie Augustine CHAPUIS was appointed as the co-adjustor to the Prelate, Hugo M. Bottero on July 25, 1911. When Most Rev. Hugo M. Bottero rested in his eternal abode, Bishop Augustine Marie Chapuis succeeded him in 1913. He promoted native vocation to priesthood and religious life. By his foresight, he prepared the diocese to be handed over to the indigenous clergy. At his resignation, Msgr. M.A. Xavier was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese in 1930.
Most Rev. Peter Francis was nominated by Pope Pius XI as the first indigenous Bishop of the diocese of Kumbakonam. He was consecrated on the feast of his patron St Peter (June 29, 1931). He promoted evangelization through the mission stations established at Ariyalur, Kulumur and Thiruvalanthurai. There was increase in the number of conversions in large numbers in the above mission centers. He celebrated his Episcopal Silver Jubilee and the Golden Jubilee of the diocese. He rested in peace on May 4, 1973.
On 5th May 1955 Most Rev. D. Paul Arulsamy, the then Parish Priest of Kottapalayam was nominated as the Bishop. He was consecrated as the Bishop on August 24, 1955. He continued the zeal of his predecessor on mission and extended the mission at Thirumanthurai, Fatimapuram, Elakurichy, Vadakkalur and Padalur. His personal interest to improve the Shrine of our Lady of Refuge at Elakurichi had made it known to the Catholics both in and outside Tamilnadu. The contribution of Fr. C.J. Beschi S.J. to Tamil language was highlighted and the fame of the Shrine spread far and wide. The tenure of the Bishop envisaged the dawn of the Second Vatican Council. He personally participated in the council sessions and was convinced of the changes of the times. He took keen interest to implement the teaching of the Vatican II. He promoted renewal in the fields of Liturgy, Catechesis, Bible etc. The Pastoral Centre was his creation, made in 1979.
After Most Rev. D. Paul Arulsamy’s resignation accepted on 16 August, 1988, Msgr. M. Antony David became the diocesan administrator and continued the mission of the former Bishop until the nomination of the next Bishop.
Most Rev. Peter Remigius, a priest of Kottar diocese was nominated the Bishop of Kumbakonam on December 02, 1989. He was consecrated as the Bishop of Kumbakonam on January 03, 1990. He built chapels in majority of the substations. He gave importance to the education of children and awareness. Many schools were upgraded and new buildings were constructed with the help of the benefactors thanks to the hard efforts of the Bishop. The Shrine of Our Lady of Miraculous Mother of Poondi was raised to the level of Marian Minor Basilica with the approval of the Holy See. His missionary pastoral works came to the highlight during the centenary celebration of the diocese of Kumbakonam on September 01, 1999. He was transferred from Kumbakonam as the Bishop of Kottar on 30th June 2007. He took charge of his diocese on 24th August, 2007.
Msgr. C. Peter Francis was elected to be the diocesan administrator of Kumbakonam on 27th August, 2007. With the help of the College of Consultors he continued and completed the works of the former Bishop. He coordinated the mission of the diocese and prepared the way for the next Bishop.
Most Rev. Antonisamy Francis, a priest of Thanjavur diocese and the Parish Priest of Vailankanni was nominated Bishop of Kumbakonam on 31st May, 2008. He was ordained as the Bishop of Kumbakonam on 09th July, 2008. The diocese is given a focus in all possible ways to improve the mission of the diocese. He renewed the diocesan pastoral council and encouraged the different commissions of the pastoral centre to work more effectively with full time priest secretary to each commission. The statutes of the diocese of Kumbakonam, rules and regulations and memorandum of the diocese are all revised and updated on a par with the other dioceses of Tamilnadu. The centralized educational employments and appointments of the teachers begun by the previous Bishop are brought to the perfection with an independent diocesan secretary for education and diocesan education commission. His focus on evangelization and education and prayer meetings etc. create renewal of Christian faith in the diocese. His spiritual outlook is made clear through his attractive homilies and reflections in the news letters. Apart from the continuation of improving education he shows keen interest in the professional and higher education of the students of our diocese.
Diocese of Kumbakonam
Post Box No.3
Kumbakonam – 612 001
Thanjavur District., South India.
Office: 0435 – 2432232
Fax: 0435 – 2423679
For more information please visit: http://dioceseofkumbakonam.org