Dioceses of India
Total: 1
Simla - Chandigarh

Diocese of Simla - Chandigarh

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Rite: Latin
Region : North
Patron: St. Joseph & St. Michael
Founded: 4 June 1959
Province: Delhi
Status: Diocese
Total area:  83,566 sq. kms.
Total Population : 1,70,00,000
Catholics Total: 15,629
Diocesan Priests: 53
Religious Priests: 65
Religious Sisters: 313
Minor Seminarians: 20
Major Seminarians: 32

Diocese of Simla - Chandigarh at a Glance

Ecclesiastical Institutions

Parishes & Substations : 77Retreat Centres: 01
Major Seminaries : 0Diocesan Minor Seminaries: 02
Congregation Minor Seminaries: 0Religious Formation Houses : 0
Men Religious Houses: 0Women Religious Houses: 25

Charitable Institutions

Hospitals : 02Dispensaries / Clinics / Health Centres: 14
Orphanages : 03Homes for Aged & Destitute : 06
Schools for Physically Challenged: 0Homes for Physically Challenged : 0
Crèches: 0Boarding Houses : 02
Counselling Centres : 0De-addiction Centre: 0
Social Centres : 01HIV / AIDS Centre: 0

Educational Institutions

Professional Colleges : 0Degree Colleges: 01
Parallel Colleges : 0Vocational / Technical Training Centres : 01
Higher Secondary / Junior Colleges : 15High Schools : 50
Upper Primary Schools: 0Lower Primary Schools:06
Nurseries / Pre-Primary Schools :50Presses & Media Centres : 0


Shimla-Chandigarh diocese has a long history. The Archdiocese of Shimla was created in 1910 when it was separated from the Archdiocese of Agra, the mother diocese of all North India. Very Rev. Fr Anselm E. J. Keneally, ofm cap., Superior General of the Friars minor Capuchins was appointed as the first Archbishop of this new Archdiocese, and he was consecrated in Rome on January 1, 1911. The church of St. Michael and St. Joseph in Shimla built in 1885 by Lord Ripon the Catholic Viceroy of India became the Cathedral of new Archdiocese. The century of history of this Archdiocese witnessed great changes and has been affected. by the changed political and ecclesiastical history of the country as a whole. The greatest of these was the partition and Independence of the country, which separated a large portion of the Vicariate of Punjab from our country to form the new diocese of Lahore in Pakistan. The realignment of the states, the creation of the new city of the Chandigarh and its Union Territory status have all influenced the history of the diocese and have had their effect in the structure and development of the diocese.
When the political capital of the country was shifted to Delhi the Catholic population was placed under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Shimla thus becoming the Delhi - Shimla Archdiocese and the See shifting to Delhi. Archbishop Sylvester P. Mulligan was the first Archbishop of Delhi - Shimla Archdiocese, which comprised of the present states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and the Union - Territory. Archbishop Sylvester P. Mulligan was succeeded by Archbishop Joseph Alexander Fernandes. In 1959 the Archdiocese of Delhi - Shimla was dismembered to form Shimla as an independent diocese and thus beginning the history of current diocese with Bishop John Burke as its pastor. In the year 1966 Bishop John Burke was succeeded by Bishop Alfred Fernandes the Vicar General of Archdiocese of Hyderabad. He was transferred to the See of Allahabad in 1970.

The foundation of the new city of Chandigarh gave rise to a new concept of urban Punjab and the political and social life of people began to shift and centre around the new city. Even though the bishop kept Shimla as headquarters of the diocese, he was forced to remain in Chandigarh to be closer to the people and their lives till finally Bishop Gilbert B. Rego shifted the residence to Chandigarh and the diocese came to be, known as Shimla - Chandigarh diocese.
The present Diocese of Shimla - Chandigarh has a total area of 83,560 sq. kms. and is spread in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. The Diocese of Shimla-Chandigarh consists .of the civil districts of Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu, Mandi, Bilaspur, Shimla, Solan and Sirmour in Himachal Pradesh, Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Panipat, Kaithal, Jind, Hissar, Bhivani and Sirsa in Haryana state; Patiala, Sangrur, Mansa, Bhatinda, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar in Punjab state; and the Union Territory of Chandiqarh. This vast area accounts for a population of about 17,00,000 of which a mere 0.02% is Catholic that is about 13,500. There are pockets of other Christian denominations too. The area is the home of Sikhism and the other great religions of India. Hinduism and Islam still predominate the region making it a real mission land. 
The Catholic community is itself a Kaleidoscopic picture of the variety of ethnic and cultural groups with independent linguistic identity, from different socio-economic background, yet united together in their faith in Christ around one pastor. Today the diocese has 30 parishes, 32 stations and the pastoral activities of these centers are taken care by 85 priests of the diocesan clergy and seven different religious congregations. The pastoral educational and social activities are shared by 22 other congregations of religious brothers and sisters spread in 39 communities. 
With the appointment of Bishop Gerald John Mathias, the Diocese of Shimla -Chandigarh enters into a new phase of its history. May his leadership and guidance be blessed with abundance fruits in this far-flung vineyard of the Lord.

Former Bishops

Right Rev. Gerald John MathiasBishop2000-2007
Most Rev. Gilbert Blaize RegoBishop1971-1999
Most Rev. Alfred FernandezBishop1966-1970
Most Rev. John BurkeBishop1959-1965