Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Catholic Church in Arunachal Pradesh

Introduction :

It is great to know that Catholicism is increasing by leaps and bounds in Arunachal Pradesh, a Frontier State in North - East India.

Catholics in Arunachal Pradesh now number 200,000 out of a population of 1 Million. They are all Tribals of various Tribes that live in Arunachal Pradesh.

This I believe is primarily because of the pioneering missionary efforts of a Benedictine Brother from the State of Maharashtra popularly known as "PREMBHAI" or Loving Brother.

He passed away in 2008. His real name was Brother Henry Gaikwad.

A Little about him now :

Br. Henry Gaikwad pioneered evangelization in Arunachal Pradesh, a State in North - East India.

He had been closely associated with the beginnings of the "Arunachal Mission". He was an "Icon" of humanitarian service for the people of Arunachal Pradesh who will stand tall in the history of Catholic Missions in North -East India.

The Late Evangelizer walked more than 45,000 Kilometers over the hills and valleys of the State during 25 years of mission work.

The First Permanent Catholic Church in the State opened only in 1993, but today there are 2 flourishing Catholic Dioceses in Arunachal Pradesh namely Itanagar Diocese and Miao Diocese.

This is primarily due to the untiring efforts of Br. Henry Gaikwad.

Missionary Par Excellence :

Br. Henry Gaikwad was a very simple, unassuming, and highly committed Catholic Missionary who slept on a plank of wood using another plank as a pillow.

His Slippers were made from truck tires to avoid wearing out and according to Priests and Religious who knew him he was always talking about evangelization.

He can truly be called the "Apostle of Arunachal Pradesh". There may not be any village in Arunachal Pradesh that he has not visited.

This Benedictine Brother possessed tremendous strength that enabled him to stand against all odds.

Conclusion :

The Catholic Church in Arunachal Pradesh owes much to this great personality. He was truly a pioneering missionary in more ways than one.

Praised be Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament for the wonders he has worked in Arunachal Pradesh.

Credits and References :

1) The Examiner, Mumbai
     Vol -164, N0 -40
     October 5-11, 2013
     "Arunachal Pradesh 50 Years of First Baptisms"
      Page 18

2)  Don Bosco's Madonna, Mumbai
     October 2008
     Volume 10, N0-6
      Page 28

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