Dioceses of India
Total: 1
Ahmedabad

Diocese of Ahmedabad

Quick Links:      History
Rite: Latin
Patron: Sacred Heart of Jesus & St. Francis Xavier
Founded: 5 May 1949
Province: Gandhinagar
Status: Diocese
Total area: 14,791 sq. km. 
Total Population : 96,56,498
Catholics Total: 69,267
Diocesan Priests: 84
Religious Priests: 80
Religious Sisters: 342
Minor Seminarians: 0
Major Seminarians: 0

Bishop of the Diocese

Most Rev. Athanasius Rethna Swamy S.
Bishop of Ahmedabad
Personal Details
Born:10-Feb-1961
Priestly Ordination:29-Mar-1989
Episcopal Ordination:14-Apr-2018
Period:2018-

Tel(P): 079-25624717.25624105
Email(P): rethnaswamy@gmail.com
Contact Details
Bishop's House , Mirzapur, Ahmedabad - 380 001 (Gujarat)
Tel(O): 079 - 25624105
Fax : 25 63 19 42
Email : adctam@gmail.com

Diocese of Ahmedabad at a Glance

Ecclesiastical Institutions

Parishes & Substations : 41Retreat Centres: 01
Major Seminaries : 0Diocesan Minor Seminaries: 0
Congregation Minor Seminaries: 0Religious Formation Houses : 06
Men Religious Houses: 11Women Religious Houses: 0

Charitable Institutions

Hospitals : 02Dispensaries / Clinics / Health Centres: 25
Orphanages : 06Homes for Aged & Destitute : 04
Schools for Physically Challenged: 01Homes for Physically Challenged : 0
Crèches: 0Boarding Houses : 0
Counselling Centres : 0De-addiction Centre: 03
Social Centres : 11HIV / AIDS Centre: 0

Educational Institutions

Professional Colleges : 0Degree Colleges: 03
Parallel Colleges : 02Vocational / Technical Training Centres : 18
Higher Secondary / Junior Colleges : 06High Schools : 31
Upper Primary Schools: 02Lower Primary Schools:27
Nurseries / Pre-Primary Schools :0Presses & Media Centres : 07

History

        
The present Ahmedabad Diocese covers the entire area of the three civil districts of Ahmedabad, Anand and Nadiad. Areawise, Ahmedabad is the smallest of the four dioceses in Gujarat but with 63,962 Catholics Ahmedabad is the biggest diocese! Ahmedabad is also the oldest diocese in the state.

Historically too the Ahmedabad diocese has great significance. The freedom struggle was directed from the Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad which was the headquarters of Gandhiji for meeting the leaders of the freedom movement and the British officials till he started the Dandi March on March 12, 1930. Karamsad in Anand District which comes within the boundaries of the Ahmedabad diocese was also the birth place of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the iron man of India.

The Ahmedabad Diocese has a long history. There are indications of Christians living at Khambhat and Ahmedabad from the beginning of the sixteenth century when the Portuguese arrived in Goa in 1510. All through the 19th century Catholics from outside the states have come and settled in several towns of Gujarat. Ahmedabad city had a church from 1842 at Sabarmati.

But the beginning of local Christians is traced to the baptism of 18 people at Mogri on December 11, 1893 by Fr Manuel Xavier Gomes, a diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of Bombay. A team of German and Swiss Jesuits followed Fr Gomes. Then came more diocesan priests followed by the Spanish Jesuits in 1922.

In 1934 the entire area of Gujarat State north of the Mahi river including Kathiawad and Kutch became the independent Ahmedabad mission separated from Bombay Archdiocese, with an Ecclesiastical Superior in the person of Fr Joaquin Villallonga, SJ. There were only five mission stations in 1934 : Anand established in 1895, Vadtal in 1897, Karamsad in 1907, Nadiad in 1911 and Amod in 1914.

The Daughters of the Cross (FC) were the first congregation of nuns to start work in Gujarat from 1898. Then came the Sisters of The Apostolic Carmel (AC) to work in Gujarat in January 1923. They opened their first school at Ahmedabad in 1929. In 1936 a local congregation of the Little Daughters of St Francis Xavier (LD) was founded by a Jesuit Priest, Fr Carlos Suria in collaboration with Sr Xavier.

The steady growth of the Ahmedabad mission resulted in the establishment of the Ahmedabad Diocese on May 5, 1949 covering the entire Gujarat area north of the river Mahi much before the present Gujarat state was carved out of the Bombay state on May 1, 1960.

The tenure of the first Bishop of Ahmedabad, Bishop Edwin Pinto, SJ (1949-73) was a period of consolidation of the Christian community and also the beginning of the expansion of the Church to north and south Gujarat.

Meanwhile a second diocese in Gujarat was established on September 29, 1966 as Baroda diocese with the six districts in South Gujarat, south of Mahi river curved out of Bombay Archdiocese with Bishop Ignatius D'Souza as its first bishop.

In Ahmedabad diocese Bishop Charles Gomes, SJ succeeded Bishop Pinto in 1974 and he saw to the expansion of the Church of north and central Gujarat as well as to the growth of Church personnel especially diocesan priests and religious sisters.

A new development took place in 1977 with the formation of the Rajkot Diocese under Bishop Jonas Thaliath, CMI as its first bishop. The new diocese was separated from the Ahmedabad Diocese, covering the entire area of Saurashtra and Kutch-Bhuj.

Then, in 1990 Bishop Stanislaus Fernandes, SJ took up the reins from Bishop Gomes in Ahmedabad Diocese and saw to the further consolidation of the Christian communities in the north and central Gujarat. The steady growth of the Church then saw the establishment of the new Archdiocese of Gandhinagar headed by Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes, SJ. The new archdiocese was separated from the Ahmedabad Diocese in November 2002.

Bishop Thomas Ignas Macwan became the first local Catholic Bishop Ahmedabad Diocese in January 2003 indicating the coming of age of the Church in Gujarat.


Mission & Vision

We, the Christians in the Ahmedabad Diocese, like the Christians in all the dioceses around the world, strive to walk in the footsteps of our leader Jesus Christ and to proclaim to all people of good will his message of love and forgiveness as well as universal brotherhood and sisterhood. Jesus Christ went about doing good to all especially the poor, the neglected and the abandoned like the dalits, lepers, tax collectors and public sinners.

We uphold the freedom guaranteed by our Constitution to profess, proclaim and propagate our Christian religion while stoutly defending the rights and freedom of all people to profess and practise the religion of their choice. With the universal church we abhors forced conversions and the use of foul means to convert or reconvert people from one religion to another. We believe in the religion of love founded by Christ.

Education for Social Change

The Ahmedabad Diocese believes and strives to prepare men and women for others through its formal and informal educational efforts. While striving for the all round progress of children through our education we aim to form our children into useful citizens for themselves and for others in this great country and beyond.

With this goal in mind we run a college, six higher secondary schools and 22 high schools and many more primary and middle schools.

Our non-formal educational programmes include balwadies, remedial classes for weaker students, literacy programmes, adult education and villages libraries.

We also run a number of vocational training centres like industrial training centres, type-writing and computer programmes, tailoring and embroidery, etc.
Mentally challenged children and handicapped people too find appropriate integrated educational programmes run by our religious personnel in the diocese.

Pastoral Services

The Diocese carries out pastoral ministries through its own diocesan priests as well as through men and women belonging to different religious congregations.

A religious congregation is a body within the Catholic Church working with a specific Charism of it's founder embodied in the Constitution of the Congregation with the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

The Diocese has 76 diocesan priests and about 31 more young men in various stages of their eight-year long priestly formation. They work mostly in parishes, mission stations and schools.

The diocese has 4 congregations of men : They are, 1. The Society of Jesus (Jesuits - SJ), 2. The Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), 3. The Society of St Francis Xavier (Pilars Fathers-SFX) and 4. Missionary Brothers of St Francis of Assisi (CMSF). These religious Priests and Brothers are engaged in all sorts of services like education, pastoral ministry, social service and vocational training, etc.

There are about 26 Religious congregations of women working in the diocese. They run schools like Mount Carmel School in Ahmedabad by the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel or St Xavier's High School at Vatva by the Sisters known as the Little Daughters of St Francis Xavier. St Mary's Mahila Shikshan Kendra and Social Service Centre at Gomtipur managed by the Dominican Missionaries of the Holy Rosary (O.P.) Most of the sisters work in small towns and villages running dispensaries, boardings for girls and mahila mandals, etc.

Medical Services : Health for All

With the aim of proving medical services especially for the poor and needy, the Catholic Church runs a number of dispensaries in villages and small towns. The Diocese also runs two hospitals at Nadiad and Ahmedabad which cater specially to the people from the lower strata of the society. Besides, the Diocese also manages the Narol Leprosy Hospital which is hailed as a model leprosy hospital in Gujarat and beyond.

The Diocese through the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa also runs two Mobile Dispensaries in slum areas offering medical services to the poorest of the poor in Ahmedabad city.

The St Mary's Nursing Home at Gomtipur, the mill area of Ahmedabad city is known as the cheapest and safest "delivery home" for the poor in the city.

Most of our dispensaries function in villages where no other medical services are available to the poor and backward people. These dispensaries and mobile clinics reach out to all people irrespective of their castes and creeds.

Social Services

Following the example of their founder Jesus Christ who went about doing good to all, the Christians in Ahmedabad Diocese extend services to all peoples irrespective of their caste and religion but especially the poor and the needy.

The Diocesan Social Service Centre headquartered at Hansol, Ahmedabad, Behavioural Science Centre (BSC) and St Xavier's Social Service Society, both run by the Jesuits, are three of the best known social service organizations in the Diocese. They are also the three biggest centres in terms of their services extending far and wide in the Diocese and beyond. But we have also social service wings which are part and parcel of many of our parishes and schools and through which we reach out to the most needy people of the locality.

Our social service centres engage in social, economic, medical, vocational and educational activities such as conducting balwadies for poor children, remedial classes for children of some municipal schools, tuition classes for students weak in studies. The social centres have also helped poor people to build their homes, farmers are helped with seeds and to dig wells and young boys and girls with vocational courses like computer training, tailoring embroidery, etc.

During natural calamities like floods, drought and the killer earthquake of January 26, 2001, our social service centres were at the vanguard with relief and rehabilitation works. Some of our institutions have also done wonderful works in water-harvesting and building check-dams.

Publications, Printing Press & Publishing House

DOOT is a Jesuit run integral family magazine primarily meant for the Gujarati Christians.

THE AHMEDABAD MISSIONARY (TAM) is a monthly magazine in English for the friends and benefactors of the Ahmedabad Diocese.

THE CATHOLIC SAMACHAR is a Gujarati monthly newspaper which voices the concerns of the Gujarati Catholic Samaj.

THE AHMEDABAD DIOCESAN CHRONICLE is a newsletter, and in-house publication for diocesan personnel.

ANAND PRESS is our Xavier Edu-Technical Training Centre (XETC) and printing press at Anand which produces a lot of quality literature for Christians and for others.

GUJARAT SAHITYA PRAKASH (GSP) at Anand publishes books in English and Gujarati about Bible, Liturgy, Spirituality, Theology, etc.
PRASHANT is our justice and peace centre working for human rights, social justice, human developments, etc.

RISHTA is Jesuit Writers' Cell based at Ahmedabad. Rishta conducts workshops in journalism and creative writing.

INFORMATION CENTRE - Catholic Information Service Society (CISS) provides information about the Church in Gujarat in general and Ahmedabad Diocese in particular. CISS also conducts value education and correspondence courses on Jesus Christ and the Bible, etc. CISS also publishes literature on bible and value education.

Former Bishops

NameDesignationPeriod
Most Rev. Stanislaus Fernandes SJBishop1990-2002
Most Rev. Charles Gomes, SJBishop1974-1990
Most Rev. Edwin Pinto, SJBishop1949-1973