The Salesian province of Dimapur, one of the ten in India, came into existence by bifurcation of the erstwhile Guwahati Province and was canonically erected on 8th December 1981 with the Rector Major Fr. Egidio Vigano’s decree of canonical erection. The inauguration of the Province dedicated to St. Francis de Sales, was held on 18th June (Feast of the Sacred Heart) 1982 with Fr. Pulingathil Mathew as the first provincial. Bishop Alangimattathil Abraham, sdb of Kohima diocese presided over the inaugural ceremony.
The province comprises the States of Arunachal Pradesh, upper Assam, Manipur and Nagaland with an area of 2,55,168 sq. km having a population of 38.4 million. Further still, countries like Bhutan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar surround this region with an international boundary of 5,000 km.
The provincial headquarters was established at Dimapur, a big town and the commercial hub of the state of Nagaland, situated at the boarder of Nagaland and Assam. This town is easily accessible by road, rail and air from Guwahati, the gateway to the Northeast.
At the time of the creation of the new province the confreres were incardinated into the province in whose territory the house was situated. The student-confreres were invited to express a preference for either of the provinces of Guwahati or Dimapur. This was done keeping in mind the needs and requirements of each province. It was decided that the formation houses of the Salesians in Shillong, though belonging to the province of Guwahati, would continue serving both the provinces. On February 15th 1982 Fr. Nedumala Scaria was nominated vice-provincial and Fr. Vadakethannikal Sebastian as the economer. The provincial councilors were Fr. Kerketta Stanilaus and Bro. Brhamakulam Anthony. The province of Dimapur had 23 houses (centres) and 155 confreres in 1982.
The province of Dimapur covers the dioceses of Itanagar and Miao in Arunachal Pradesh, Dibrugarh and Tezpur in Assam, Kohima in Nagaland and the Archdiocese of Imphal in Manipur.
The earliest Salesian presence in our province is traceable to the Dibrugarh mission started by Fr. Leo Piasecki in the 1920’s. In 1948 Fr. Orestes Marengo and Fr. Attilio Colussi entered Manipur, followed by Fr. Aloysius Ravalico in 1952 and Fr. Peter Bianchi in 1955. On 31 December 1948 Mgr. Emmanuel Bars arrived at Kohima, as chaplain of the Medical sisters (Sisters of the Society of Christ Jesus) but he was forbidden from exercising any pastoral ministry. In 1951 Mgr. Bars was replaced by Fr. Umberto Marocchino. Fr. John Larrea began working with the Lothas of Nagaland in 1954. The first Salesian to contact the people of Arunachal Pradesh was Fr. Aloysius Cerato while he was working in North Lakhimpur in the early 1940s. In 1974 Fr. Thomas Menamparampil as Rector of Don Bosco, Shillong, was greatly responsible for the beginning of the Catholic Church in Arunachal Pradesh. However, the appointment in 1979 of Fr. Job Kallarackal to look after the Church in Arunachal Pradesh is to be considered as a landmark in the history of the Catholic Church in that State. There are also many other outstanding Salesian missionaries who have worked in our province.
From this humble beginning the name of Don Bosco has reached practically every town and village in the province. The seed of the Salesian work has germinated and flourished all over the region not withstanding the fact that some of our confreres had to lay down their lives in the process. The province has now grown to 43 houses with 221 confreres as it celebrates its Silver Jubilee of erection.
In 1988 Fr. Scaria Nedumala was appointed the Provincial and Fr. M.P. Thomas the Vice Provincial. Fr. Mundathanathu Michael served as the Provincial Economer for three years and then Fr. Thomas Vattoth took over as Economer. In 1994 Fr. Varghese Palathingal was appointed Provincial and Fr. Alex Pulimoottil the Vice Provincial. Fr. Joseph Variathukalayil was appointed Provincial Economer. Subsequently in 2000 Fr. Mulayinkal Thomas appointed Provincial and Fr. Jonas Kerketta, the vice provincial. Fr. Pampackal Joseph was appointed the Provincial Economer. In 2006 Fr. Poonthuruthil James became provincial and Fr. Guria Nestor, the vice provincial. Fr. Pampackal Joseph continued as the provincial Economer. In 2009 Fr. Jose Palely was appointed as the Economer of the Provincie. In 2012 Fr. Guria Nestor was appointed as the sixth Provincial of the provice. Fr. Perianayagam John Bosco, Vice Provincial; Fr. Jose Palely continued to be the Economer of the Province. He was succeeded by Fr. Polackal Nebu Mathew as the Economer of the Province.
Provincials of Dimapur Province
|Fr. Pulingathil Mathew||1982-1988|
|+Fr. Nedumala Scaria||1988-1994|
|Fr. Palathingal Varghese||1994-2000|
|Fr. Mulayinkal Thomas||2000-2006|
|+ Fr. Poonthuruthil James||2006-2012|
|Fr. Nestor Guria||2012 -2018|
|Fr. Kuruvachira Jose||2018 –|