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First Parish among the Misings celebrates Silver Jubilee


By Fr. Tarcisius Toppo
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Dimapur, Oct. 25. St. Thomas Parish, Sadiya, one of the first parishes among the Misings, celebrated the Silver Jubilee of its establishment on 22 - 23 October with over 1000 faithful gathered for the celebration. The Misings, once known as 'Miris', the second largest tribe in Assam, are of Mongoloid origin. Originally from North-west China, they came down to Arunachal Pradesh centuries ago and occupied the mountain ranges lying between the Subansiri and the Siang districts of Arunachal Pradesh -
The solemn Jubilee Eucharist was presided over by Rt. Rev. Joseph Aind, Bishop of Dibrugarh, joined by Fr. James Poonthuruthil, Salesian Provincial of Dimapur, Fr. Joy Pallikunnel, Vicar General, Diocese of Dibrugarh, Fr. Vijay Toppo, Chancellor, Diocese of Dibrugarh, Fr. Chacko Kakkanat, Pioneer of the mission, and around twenty other priests, most of whom, had served the parish in the capacities of Assistant pastors or Headmasters.

During the homily, the Bishop reminded the faithful, about the gift of faith that they had received and of their responsibility of sharing with others. He called upon everyone to become good missionaries after the heart of Jesus Christ, the perfect missionary of the Father, referring to the call of the Mission Sunday which coincided with the Jubilee celebration. He noted that all those who established the parish and worked for the development of the parish and parishioners were real missionaries. The celebration of the Jubilee will have more meaning, if everyone tries to carry forward the mission and purpose of the parish - that of spreading the good news to everyone - he said.

The celebration began with a solemn candlelit Eucharistic procession on 22 evening and ended with the cultural programme on 23 October. Established in 1986, the Parish currently has almost fifteen centres with over 1500 Catholics. The centre caters to various tribal communities such as Mising, Deoris, Nepalis, Bodos, and Assamese.

Sadiya is one of the few ancient names that still dot the map of Assam. It is situated at the estuary formed by the mighty Brahmaputra and the Dibang River. It is the meeting point of the people from the hills and the plains. 150 years ago the British had their outpost here, where they would come by the steamers and boats right from Calcutta. They had also established a beautiful town at Sadiya with the purpose of enhancing the prospects of trade with China. Fr. Krick and Fr. Boury, two Catholic missionaries, who were murdered in the Lohit Mountains, passed through Sadiya on their way to Tibet. However, the flourishing town of Sadiya was destroyed by the flood waters of Dibang River in 1950 as a result of the earthquake that shook the Lohit Mountains of Arunachal Pradesh. All that now remains of this great town are a few wild plum trees and thatch grass.

It was in this historic land that the Catholic Church set foot on 3 July 1986, with the establishment of the Catholic Church. It was on this day that the Parish of St. Thomas was erected with Fr. Chacko Kakkanat as the first Parish Priest. He came to stay in August 1986, accompanied by Sr. Agnes Basumatary, Sr. Victoria Kujur, Mr. Johny Kalapurackal and Mr. Abraham Chakkittakuzhy. From then on the centre has been growing and developing in leaps and bounds.
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