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Father Joseph Pauria SDB made first Santhal Provincial of oldest Indian Salesian Province

By Father C.M. Paul SDB
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Mumbai, Dec. 16. Kolkata — A communique released from Kolkata Salesian Province at noon on Sunday 15th December 2019 announced the appointment of 17th Provincial of oldest Salesian province of India - Calcutta.
The communique said, ''The Rector Major, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, has appointed Frather Joseph Pauria, the present Vice Provincial, as the 17th Provincial of the Province of Calcutta.''

The announcement was made simultaneously in Rome and in Bandel on 15 December 2019 at the conclusion of annual retreat for Salesians.

Father Joseph Pauria, 54-years old, will assume office on 31 May 2020 at the completion of the term of the present Provincial, Fr. Nirmol Gomes.

The Province of Calcutta was erected in 1926 as the first Salesian Province in India.

Father Pauria becomes the third in a series of formators from Salesian Philosophate in Sonada to become provincials. Other two being current provincial Father Nirmol Gomes and his predecessor Fr Thomas Ellichirayil.

Father Pauria was born on 14 January 1965 at Azimganj in Murshidabad district of West Bengal to Thomas and Rita Pauria.

His father, Mr. Thomas was the first catechist of the parish of Azimganj where evangelization was pioneered by the Salesians some 6 decades ago.

After competing his middle school education in Don Bosco Azimganj, he joined the aspirantate in Bandel and completed his Higher Secondary education.

Young Pauria entered the Novitiate in Siliguri in 1984 and made his first profession in 1985.

After his philosophy and graduation in Salesian College Sonada, and practical training, he joined Sacred Heart College Shillong for his theology studies.

Ordained priest in 1994 Fr Pauria proceeded for his Masters in Catechetics at Kristu Jyoti College Bangalore and was assigned to Salesian College Sonada as a formator where he rendered his services for several years.

After completing his PhD in Salesian Mission Spirituality from Salesian University Rome in 2009 Fr. Pauria returned to Sonada as a Formator & Professor.

In the meantime he was appointed as a member of the Provincial Council. After a brief stint as Parish Priest in Berhampore he was appointed as Vice Provincial in January 2016.

Provincial Father Nirmol Gomes says, '' Father Joseph Pauria brings along with him into his new role as Provincial excellent qualities of both head and heart.''

''He has been a conscientious formator and an effective teacher. He is very versatile as a person, knowledgeable and is a good communicator. He shows maturity in his dealings and depth in his spirituality and Salesianity. He is very personal in his relationships and friendly with all categories of people. He has a pastoral heart and is very simple and unassuming,'' said the Provincial.

In conclusion the provincial said, ''The Province definitely stands to gain a lot from him in the coming six years with the quality of leadership and animation that he is capable of offering.''
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