Shillong, India. On October 28, 2023, Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, CMF, General Superior of the Claretian Missionaries, signed a Decree that elevates the Northeast India Independent Delegation (NEID) to a canonically erected Province effective November 1, 2023. Henceforth, it will be known as the Northeast India Province.
The Northeast India Province currently has 58 priests, 16 students, 9 residences, and 11 houses in India. As the Province prepares for its first Provincial Chapter, the present Delegation Government will serve as its temporary Provincial Government.
FR. PIUS THURUTHIYIL, C.M.F.
FR. JAISON CYRIAC (JAMES) PERUMPALLIOLICKAL, C.M.F.
FR. JOHN ARACKAPARAMPIL, C.M.F.
Consultor and Econome
FR. ARNEST KHARMAWLONG, C.M.F.
The new Province encompasses the regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura in India. The Provincial Curia will be located in Shillong, Meghalaya, India. It belongs to the ASCLA West Conference of the Congregation, which now comprises four Provinces (Bangalore, Chennai, Northeast India, St. Thomas) and two Independent Delegations (Kolkata, and St. Joseph Vaz).
Congratulations to the Claretians of Northeast India Province. The Congregation wishes you success in your future missionary activities and endeavors.
THE CLARETIANS IN NORTHEAST INDIA
On June 22, 1984, the Claretians arrived in Northeast India at the request of Bishop George Mamalassery of Tura Diocese. Their mission was inspired by Christ and driven by love. Before starting their own missions, the Claretians worked with the diocesan priests of Tura for five years to get familiar with the region’s culture, language, and needs. This allowed them to provide an effective and contextualized mission and formation. In 1986, the Claretians opened their first house in the Northeast, a study house in Mawlai, Shillong. This house was used for the contextualized formation of the Claretian scholastics.
In 1989, the first mission to be established was the All Saints Mission in Rongara. Shortly after, within six months, the St. Claret Mission in Amapati was opened. Both Rongara and Amapati are situated in the Diocese of Tura in Meghalaya. Subsequently, several missions were founded, including the Presentation Mission in Nonghyllam in 1992, the Mary Queen of Holy Rosary Mission in Dangar Balat in 1993, and the St. Francis Xavier Mission in Mawsynram in 1993. These were the first Claretian centers established in the Diocese of Shillong.
The St. Claret Mission and School was established in 1995 in the Diocese of Guwahati in Assam. After that, the Claretians entered Arunachal Pradesh in 1998, a state that was once banned for missionaries, and established a mission in Boasimla under the Diocese of Tezpur in 1999. In 2003, the people and government of Arunachal Pradesh requested the opening of St. Claret College in Ziro, which was completed that same year. Also in 2003, another mission was opened in the Archdiocese of Shillong, St. Claret Mission at Phramer in Jaintia Hills. In 2004, the Claretians decided to take up a new center at Kochugaon at the invitation of the Bishop of the Diocese of Bongaigaon. To promote indigenous vocations, a Minor Seminary was established at Umsning in Meghalaya in 1998.
The Claretians of the Northeast have earned a reputation for their willingness to undertake the most challenging missions. They specifically seek out the border areas of the country, which the government and other agencies often overlook, as they are difficult to access and even harder to survive. As a result of this trait, the priests of the Northeast have affectionately given them the nickname “BSF” – Border Security Fathers.