Province of North East India
At a glance ...
|Provincial||Fr. George Panthanmackel|
|Province Councillors||Fr. Emmanual Uppamthadathil - Admonitor, Fr. Athnas Kerketta, Fr. Reji Kizhakethalacke, Fr. Benoy Veliyathu|
|Assam (14)||Narengi, Chandrapur, Rukmanigaon, panishali, Jonai, Telam, Silapathar,Dhemaji, Gogamukh, Hamren, Manikbond, Bashpari, Chappar, Panbari.|
|Arunachal Pradesh (7)||Pasighat, Yimkiyong, Likabali, Basar, Aalo, Kaying, Tato|
|Manipur (2)||Pasighat, Yimkiyong, Likabali, Basar, Aalo, Kaying, Tato|
|Nagaland (3)||Tening, Peren, Medziphema|
|Meghalaya (5)||Nongwalbibra, Umwahlang, Mawkhlam, Mawryngkneng, Amlarem|
|Tripura (2)||Sindukpathar, Bulburia|
|West Bengal (2)||Galsi, Darjeeling More|
The pioneers, a band of six new priests, were sent to northeast India from the Province of Visakhapatnam. They left Visakhapatnam on 17th September 1975 and were sent two by two for pastoral initiation into the dioceses of Tura, (Meghalaya), Kohima (Nagland), and Tezpur (Assam). This historic event is reminiscent of the departure, on 14 September 1594 of St. Francis de Sales and his cousin Canon Louis de Sales from Annecy on the Chablais Mission! In 1975, the ecclesiastical area of the North-East was just the Archdiocese of Shillong with three suffragan dioceses (Tura, Meghalaya, Kohima, Nagland, and, Tezpur, Assam) that solicited pastoral assistance. In the growth and development, the Northeast India Province is indebted to the Province of Viskhapatnam.
Northeast India Province of the MSFS is confined mainly to the geographical territory of India’s northeast region, which comprises the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura- known as the “Seven Sisters”. With the inclusion of Sikkim, the northeast is referred to as land of “seven sisters and one brother.” Later, the State of West Bengal also included to the territory of the Province. Thus, the province territory shares borders with Myanmar in the south and south east, with Bangladesh in the south and south-west, with Bhutan in the west, and with Tibet and China in the North-east.
Northeast is decked with hills, valleys, high mountain ranges and vast expanse of plain land; evergreen forests, innumerable streams and rivers, varieties of flora and fauna, the serene villages and the fast growing townships. The variations of altitude, diversity of habitat, and extreme precipitation, geographical diversity and corresponding climatic conditions add to the rich variety and abundance.
The Region is acknowledged to be one of the most splendid, variegated and multilingual tribal areas of the world. It is a home for hundreds of tribes and sub-tribes who speak many languages, follow distinct customs, and practice indigenous faiths. They also differ widely in dress and other cultural traits. Traditionally, the people live in villages, most of which are perched on hill tops or on their valleys, and enjoy the best of nature’s richness and bounty.
The indigenous people of the region welcomed Christian faith and several groups gladly embraced the faith, notwithstanding opposition and even persecution. More of the tribal communities came to embrace the Christianity as it gave a new sense of dignity to them. The progress of the region and development of people are closely linked to the committed service of Christian Missions. To this vast mission land and its people, the MSFS also ventured out in the year 1975.
Chronological order of MSFS implantation and growth in North East India:
MSFS MISSION of the Province of Vizag: 1975–1982; MSFS REGION under the Province of Vizag: 1982–1984; MSFS VICE-PROVINCE under the Province of Vizag: 1984–1989; NORTH EAST INDIA as a full-fledged Province since 1990.
In the Jubilee Year 2000, the North-East comprised three Archdioceses (Shillong, Imphal and Guwahati) and the MSFS were serving in 19 parishes, spread out in three Archdioceses and 5 Dioceses. Besides the parishes, the province also possessed seven institutions, which rendered various services and ministry to people.
In the year 2012, the Northeast comprises three Archdioceses (Shillong, Imphal and Guwahati) and 12 dioceses (Itanagar. Miao, Diphu, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Bongaigaon, Kohima, Jowai, Nongstoin, Tura, Agartala, Aizawl). In addition to these, the MSFS also serve in the dioceses of Asansol (West Bengal) and Thamarassery (Kerala). Thus the northeast province is currently serving 37 parishes with schools and hostels; and 10 institutions of the congregation that are spread out in the three Archdioceses and 13 Dioceses within the country
Provincialate, Narengi,; MSFS study house, Mowroh; SFS Seminary, Medziphema; Vinaya Bhavan, Thamarasery; Renewal Centre, Umroi; Novitiate, Chabua; Technical institute Imphal; Tech institute, Diphu; SFS School, Narengi; and SFS College, Aalo.
The Province has currently 177 priests, who are actively involved in a variety of ministries in India and overseas missions. A number of confreres are involved preaching ministry. The Retreat centre at Umroi has given a new emphasis on parish mission. Confreres in the parishes are fully involved both in education as well as pastoral ministry. Province is also blessed with the necessary houses of formation and a number of confreres are directly involved in the formation of candidates. Taking into account the social realities, confreres have been qualified for social work. In the recent years, the social ministry of the province has received better organizational set up and more confreres have been empowered to involve in social ministry, which in fact enhances the pastoral ministry. Today the social ministry is mainly monitored by FAsCE India, which is the registered NGO.
With 8 Scholastics in perpetual profession, 53 in temporary profession and about 80 in the early stages of formation, the Province has a bright future, particularly with the vocations from the northeast.
List of Countries North East Province members are currently serving:
1. America 2. Austria 3. Switzerland 4. Germany 5. Rome 6. Brazil 7. France 8. South Africa 9. Namibia