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Quilon serve in Holiness & Justice


Rt.Rev. Jordanus Catalani – (1329)

Rt.Rev. Stanley Roman (2001- )
Rt.Rev. Bernardine Baccinelli of St. Theresa, OCD (1845-1853)  
Rt.Rev. Bernadine Ponta Nova of St. Agnes, OCD (1853)  
Rt.Rev. Maurice of St. Albert, OCD (1854)  
Rt.Rev. Charles Hycinth Valerga, OCD (1854-1864)  
Rt.Rev. Mary Ephrem Carrelon, OCD (1866-1870)  
Rt.Rev. Ildephonse Borgna, OCD (1871-1883)  
Rt.Rev. Ferdinand Maria Ossi, OCD (1883-1906)  
Rt.Rev. Aloysius Maria Benziger, OCD (1906-1931)  
Rt.Rev. Vincent V. Dereere, OCD (1936-1937)  
Rt.Rev. Jerome M. Fernandez (1937-1978)  
Rt.Rev. Joseph G. Fernandez (1978-2001)  
Bishop Jordanus Catalani of Severac � The first Bishop of Quilon

Friar Jordanus , a member of the Order of Preachers, who was born in Séverac-le-Chateu in the south west of France , was spreading the Word of Christ with his companions in Persia in the first half of the fourteenth century. He joined some of the Franciscans from the city of Tours around 1320/21 along with Thomas of Tolentino, who were going to the Chinese empire. Friar Jordanus reached Kerala and he remained in Quilon while others set for China . He received a letter on 12 October 1321 , which shocked him of the martyrdom of the Franciscan missionaries in April 1321 at Thana . Most Rev. Jordanus Catalani was a French Dominican Missionary to Quilon. Franciscan and Dominican Missionaries in the 13th and 14th centuries visited Quilon and their letters confirm the existence of a vibrant Christian community in Quilon.
In 1329 Pope John XXII (in captivity in Avignon ) erected Quilon as the first Diocese in the whole of Indies as suffragan to the Archdiocese of Sultany in Persia through the decree �Romanus Pontifix� dated 9 th August 1329 . By a separate Bull �Venerabili Fratri Jordano�, the same Pope, on August 21, 1329 appointed the French Dominican friar Jordanus Catalani of Severac as the first Bishop of Quilon. ( Copies of the Orders and the related letters issued by His Holiness Pope John XXII to Bishop Jordanus Catalani and to the diocese of Quilon are documented and preserved in the diocesan archives).

Friar Jordanus was consecrated bishop through the hands of Rev. Bertrand, Bishop of Tusculum . In the apostolic letter of nomination of Rev. Bertrand, Bishop of Tusculum as the ordaining bishop the Pope said :

�As a result, by the hands of our brother, the venerable Bertrand, Bishop of Tusculum, We bestow to you the gift of consecration, being steadfast in the Lord our solemn trust in the aforementioned fruits of your studies, since you, who direct and accompany with the good will the flock entrusted to your faith and assigned to your keeping at the command of the Lord, have begun the work of teaching and giving information about the orthodox faith in that region, so that, in the shadow of your name and thanks to your faithful ministry and right hand of the Lord which manifests its power in You, said church might increase in salvation and joy�

Venerabili Fratri Iordano Cathalani ,� p. 12.

Jordanus Catalani arrived in Surat in 1320. After his ministry in Gujarat he reached Quilon in 1323. He not only revived Christianity but also brought thousands to the Christian fold. His book � Mirabilia Descripta � is a rare work on plants, animals and the people of India and of other countries in Asia and this is an authoritative work on India dating 800 years back .The first Bishop of Quilon was received with great jubilation by the faithful of Quilon. He brought a message of good wishes from the Holy Father to the local rulers. As the first bishop in India , he was also entrusted with the spiritual nourishment of the Christian community in Calicut , Mangalore, Thane and �Broach' (north of Thane). He was martyred by Muslims in Bombay in 1336 . The See of Quilon lay vacant since the martyrdom of the first Bishop Jordanus Catalani of Severac in 1336. Pastoral care was restored with the arrival of Portuguese in 1503. Quilon enjoyed the patronage of the Bishops of Goa , Cochin and Verapoly successively from 1534 to 1845. .

�The people of this India are �true in speech and eminent in justice, maintaining carefully the privileges of every man according to his degree as they come down from old times�Frair Jordanus , Mirabilia Descripta (1324 )

Rt. Rev. Bernardine Baccinelli of St. Teresa OCD (1845-1853)
  When Quilon was restored as a Vicariate by the Holy See on 7 th August 1845 with jurisdiction from Pampa to Cape Comerin , Rt. Rev. Bernardine Baccinelli of St.Teresa OCD was appointed the first Pro-Vicar Apostolic. In 1853 he was transferred to Verapoly.
Rt. Rev. Bernadine Ponta Nova of St. Agnes OCD
Rt. Rev. Bernadine Ponta Nova of St. Agnes OCD was appointed the Vicar Apostolic on 15 th March 1853 . The very same month he died in Rome .
Rt. Rev. Msgr. Maurice of St. Albert OCD
On 16 th February 1854, Msgr. Maurice of St. Albert OCD was appointed Pro-Vicar Apostolic. He was to be consecrated a Bishop on 8 th March but in the interim period he too died in Bombay .
Rt. Rev. Charles Hycinth Valerga OCD 1859-1864)
Rt. Rev. Charles Hycinth Valerga OCD (1859-1864) was appointed as pro-vicar apostolic on 31 May 1854, made vicar apostolic on 26 May 1859 and was consecrated in Rome on 5 June 1859. He had started a seminary for the diocese at Mulagumoodu (which today belongs to the diocese of Kottar in Tamilnadu). During his reign he paved the way for regularizing the churches and initiating reform. He died on 24 th December 1864 in Tangassery and lies buried in the Infant Jesus Pro- Cathedral Church .
Rt. Rev.Marie Ephrem Garrelon of the sacred heart OCD (1866-1870)
After a gap of two years in 1866, Rt. Rev. Mary Ephrem Carrelon OCD was made. He was promoted as Vicar Apostolic on 24 th July 1868 . He was consecrated Bishop at the Pro-Cathedral Church Tangasseri on Nov.8 th 1868. That was the first ever-Episcopal ordination in Quilon He transferred the seminary from Mulagumoodu to Tangasseri. He residence was in Trivandrum and from where he made the necessary arrangements for the founding of a congregation of Carmelite sisters from France in order to work in the mission of Quilon. He attended the First Vatican Council in 1870. While in Rome he was transferred to the diocese of Mangalore and he took with him the Carmelite sisters whom he brought from. He attended the first Vatican Council as the Bishop of Quilon. However he was transferred to Mangalore in 1870.
Rt.Rev. Ildephonse Borgna OCD
Rt.Rev. Ildephonse Borgna OCD was appointed as the vicar apostolic of Quilon on 24 May 1871 and was consecrated on 20 August, 1871 at Verapoli. He brought to Quilon the sisters of the Carmelite third order and they established their convent at Tuet on 16 May 1880 . He retired in 1883, died on 4 November 1894 and was buried in the parish Church at Tuet
Rt. Rev. Ferdinand Maria Ossi OCD
Rt. Rev. Ferdinand Maria Ossi OCD who can be called the architect of the modern Diocese of Quilon was made Vicar Apostolic on 3 rd April 1883 . On 14 th December 1886 he was installed as the Bishop of Quilon. During the reign of Bishop Ossi (1883-1906) many institutions of pastoral concerns like St. Raphael's Seminary and St. Aloysius High School were born. While on a fund raising tour he died in Belgium .

The modern era of the diocese of Quilon began with Msgr. Ferdinand Ossi OCD (1883-1905). As we have said earlier, Pope Leo XIII reorganized the Indian hierarchy and the apostolic vicariate of Quilon was a raised to the dignity of a diocese on 01 September 1886 . Thus the first diocese of India which was canonically erected on 09 August 1329 by Pope John XXII was reconstituted by Pope Leo XIII and it regained its vigour during the period of Msgr. Ferdinand Ossi OCD (1883-1905). Top

Msgr. Ferdinand Ossi OCD was born in Sanvitto Cadore in the diocese of Belluno in Italy . He joined the Carmelite order at Brescia . As a young monk he was sent to Palestine and he lived in a Carmelite monastery as a monk with the spirit of a missionary. When he was 25 years old he became the father superior and was appointed as the apostolic prefect for the missions in Syria . Pope Leo XIII nominated him the bishop of Quilon and his jurisdiction extended from river Pamba in the north to Cape Comorin in the south. The vastness of the diocese, the enormous mission work to be done and the lack of personnel and sources made the administration of the diocese a very difficult task. His various letters express the difficulties that existed in diocese at tat time . His missionary vision gave primary importance for education of the people and the formation of indigenous clergy.

Education : Bishop Ferdinand Ossi had undertaken a lot of initiatives for the human and evangelical formation of the diocese of Quilon. His missionary activity paid special attention to education and especially the enhancement of women through education. Many of our lower primary schools were started during his tenure . He established St. Aloysius School on 1 May 1896 an institution for the promotion of the poor children through education and it became a high school in 1902. He founded St. Joseph 's school at Trivandrum in 1904 and St. Joseph 's girls' school at Tuet in 1877. Holy Angel's school, one of the renowned girls' high schools in Kerala, was founded in 1885, which became a high school in 1885. In the same year Mount Carmel girls' school was founded which became a high school in 1914.

Formation of Indigenous Clergy : Another missionary thrust of the bishop was the formation of native clergy for which he founded St. Raphael's seminary in 1902. He established a Carmelite Monastery at Trivandrum on 19 March and various other religious institutes in the diocese so that religious might commit themselves in the various fields of missionary activity. He brought missionary sisters from Belgium and founded their convent at Mulagummmodu . They started an orphanage in the name of the child Jesus for the formation of poor children. They also dedicated themselves to the technical education of girls.

Rt. Rev. Archbishop Aloysius Maria Benziger ( 1905-1931 AD) .
The glorious days of Quilon were to come with Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger. He became co-adjutor to Bishop Ferdinand Ossi in 1900. Having succeeded Bishop Ossi in 1906 he led the Diocese to a glorious epoch marked by missionary expeditions and intensive drive towards the primary and secondary education of the faithful. As a champion of the Re-union movement and an ardent promoter of systematic catechism of the faithful, he reaped many a rich harvest for the Kingdom of God . Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger was born in the Benziger family, in Einsielden, a famous pilgrimage centre of our Lady in Switzerland . Benziger family developed the internationally known Benziger Brothers' publications of the Holy See. He was born on 31 January 1864 , made his religious profession in May 1885 at the cathedral of Ghent in Belgium and was ordained priest by the auxiliary bishop of Lambrat on 22 December 1888 in the same cathedral.
His desire to work in the missions was accepted by the superiors and he reached Kerala on 09 October 1890 . His meeting with the Papal delegate for India and the other eastern countries, Ladislaus Zelesky in 1892 was a turning point in his life. The papal delegate was very much impressed with the young professor at Puthenpalli seminary, Alwaye and decided to appoint him as his secretary in the administration of missions in India , Ceylon and Burma . His experience as a secretary to the Pontifical delegate for the missions gave him amble opportunity to know concretely the missions. Bishop Ferdinand Ossi wrote about the secretary of the Pontifical delegate and recommended him to be the co-adjutor bishop of Quilon:
�As the secretary of the Apostolic delegate he is a priest who is extremely conscious of the burning problems of the missions. He has sufficient knowledge and ecclesiastical experience. Among the missionaries I do not find anyone who is more suitable than him who can work with me in the diocese.�

He was nominated co-adjutor bishop of Quilon on 22 September 1900 and was consecrated bishop at kandy on 18 November 1900 . When Bishop Ferdinand Ossi died at Ghent in Belgium on 16 August 1905 , Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger took possession of the diocese . Like his predecessor he focused on the promotion of indigenous clergy and the formation of the Christ's faithful through education. He coordinated the missionary activity of the diocese through missionary centres.

Promotion of Indigenous Clergy : Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger followed the footsteps of his predecessor Ferdinand Ossi concentrating on the promotion and formation of indigenous clergy. St. Raphael seminary, which was established at Tangassery on 22 November 1902 , was transferred to its present place opposite to the St. Aloysius high school on 27 June 1903 by Bishop Ferdinand Ossi in the presence of bishop Benzigar. Bishop Benziger dreamed that St. Raphael's would become the cradle of indigenous priests. St. Teresa's major seminary at Quilon also flourished in the diocese of Quilon during his time . When Bishop Benziger took charge of the diocese the number of indigenous priests was only 33 and when he retired from office in 1931 the number had increased into90.

Christian Formation through Education : He envisioned a Christian formation of the people of God through education. He was convinced that education can play a vital role in the faith formation and the sound moral life of the people. In fact he began a revolution through his educational policy. He founded elementary schools attached to every parish community. His idea was that the education in the Catholic schools should be provided by professional Catholic teachers. Teachers who are really formed in the faith and Catholic doctrine can transmit a better Christian life to the children. In view of the formation of teachers he established two teachers training colleges at Kottiyam and Nagarcovil. He developed middle schools and high schools to continue the higher education. St. Aloysius School which was founded by Bishop Ferdinand Ossi in 1896 was raised to a high school in 1903. This high school has contributed education to numerous Christians and non-Christians. In 1922 he started another middle school at Nagarcoil which was raised to a High school by Bishop Lawrence Pereira.

Enhancement of Women : The bishop realised the urgency of the enhancement of women through education. He invited the congregation of «Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary» from Pondicherry with the aim of providing an integral formation to young girls in the parishes. The «congregation of the Carmelite Religious sisters of Trivandrum » which was established in Quilon during the time of his predecessor began to spread even to the other parts of the diocese providing education for the young girls.

Mission Centres: The bishop, for a better coordination of missionary activity divided the diocese into three «mission centres»: Neyyattinkara, Punalur and Kattanam. Each centre was entrusted to a priest to coordinate the missionary activity and each mission centre were divided into eight foranes. He formed «catechetical councils» in every parish to improve the catechetical formation of the children and catechetics was made obligatory in all the parish schools.

Reunion Movement : He initiated the ongoing «reunion movement» in 1914 at Quilon to embrace non-Catholics to the Church. Through the «reunion movement» a number of Orthodox and Jacobite families came back to the full communion with Catholic Church. The Christians who came back to the Catholic communion through the reunion movement form the Syro-Malankara Church . Pope Pius XI in his apostolic constitution, Christo Pastorum Principi of 11 June 1932 , constituted Syro Malankra Church a Sui iuris Church .

Canonical Constitution of the Diocese of Kottar : Another initiative of the bishop was to constitute two other dioceses from the diocese of Quilon, Kottar and Trivandrum , for a better coordination of missionary activity. Rome decided for the time being to constitute only the diocese of Kottar. Pope Pius XI by his apostolic constitution Ad Pastorale Ministerium of 26 May 1930 canonically established the diocese of Kottar.

All his missionary activities in and around the diocese aimed at conversion of souls to Christ. In his address at the Marian congress in Madras in 1921 he focused on the necessity of conversion and the role of native clergy in the conversion of souls in India . He quoted the apostolic letter Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict XV and said, all the missionaries should aim at the conversion of souls. They should concentrate on the promotion of indigenous clergy from these converted souls while the future of the Indian Church would depend on the native clergy. He instituted catechists to assist the missionaries in their missionary activity.

Bishop Jerome M. Fernandez, bishop of Quilon (1937-1978), had made a statistics of the progress of the Catholic community and missionary initiatives in the diocese during the period of Bishop Benziger. According to this statistics, the population at Quilon increased during his period from 1450000 to 2154000; Catholics from 89000 to 226665; conversions from 415 to 96615; churches from 169 to 335; total priests from 51 to 108; indigenous priests from 32 to 85; religious congregations from 2 to 4; religious convents from 4 to 24; religious sisters from 20 to 240; schools from 100 to 120; and school students from 5152 to 25700.

After a long and zealous missionary activity in the diocese, the great pastor and missionary, requested for voluntary retirement. His request was accepted on 4 July 1931 and he retired at the age of 67. He spent his retirement in the Carmelite monastery at Pangodu, Trivandrum , as an ordinary Carmelite monk. Recognizing his great services he was honoured with the title of archbishop on 23 July 1931 . He died on 17 August 1942 in the monastery at Pangodu, Trivandrum at the age of 78. The reign of Archbishop Benziger will be forever written with golden letters on the pages of history of the missions in the diocese. Top

Very Rev. Msgr. Fr. Bernardine O.C.D.
Fr. Bernardine O.C.D. functioned as an administrator of the diocese from 1931 to 1936 till a bishop was appointed to the vacant See. He was born in Lombardy in Italy . He started his mission in the southern part of Travancore in Kerala and proved himself a zealous missionary and an efficient administrator. He served the diocese as administrator until Msgr. Vincent V. Derere was appointed bishop of Quilon in 1936. Though he served only five years his administration was of wide vision and good planning. He constructed around 20 Churches. He appointed parish priests in 20 parishes. He converted around 43600 souls to faith. He also founded the capuchin monastery in the diocese. He brought Irish Christian brothers in 1935 to teach at St. Aloysius high school. He developed libraries in every parish. He organized the �Travancore Latin Christian Mahajansabha' to organize the Latin Catholics. He toiled tirelessly for an integral development of the diocese in a very short period of time
Rt. Rev.Vincent Dereere OCD
Rt. Rev. Vincent Dereere OCD was appointed Bishop of Quilon in 1936. Rev. Fr. Ildalphonse OCD had been nominated to be the bishop of Quilon on 14 February 1934 but he died on the following day. On 11 February 1936 Rev. Fr. Vincent V. Derere was nominated bishop of Quilon. He came from the city of Ostand in Belgium . He was a diocesan priest who later made his religious profession on 09 August 1925 and became a Carmelite monk. He came to India as a missionary and while working as the rector of St. Theresa's major seminary he was nominated bishop of Quilon. He was consecrated on 17 May 1936 at the Pro-Cathedral, Tangassery. One of the major developments during his period was the constitution of the diocese of Trivandrum . The diocese of Trivandrum was erected by the apostolic bull In ora Malabarica on 01 July 1937 and Bishop Vincent V. Derere was transferred to the new diocese of Trivandrum
Rt. Rev. Jerome M. Fernandez
Rt. Rev. Jerome M. Fernandez was installed as the first native Bishop on 19 th December 1937 and he led the Diocese till 1978. That was yet another glorious chapter in the march of the Diocese towards enduring progress. He worked tirelessly for the educational uplift of the Latin Catholic Community by setting up Colleges, Schools and Technical Institutions among which Infant Jesus Anglo-Indian School and Trinity Lyceum are leading academic institution in Quilon. Inspired by the spirit of Vatican II he led liturgical reform in Kerala. He distinguished himself as a champion of Indianisation and Inculturation. He is known as the pioneer of Catholic Charismatic Movement in Kerala. Bishop Jerome Fernandez, the first indigenous bishop of the diocese, was born at Koivila, on 08 September 1901 , in the family of Thuppassery on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. On 10 May 1915 at the age of fourteen he joined St. Raphael's minor seminary at Quilon and joined St. Theresa's major seminary on 29 May 1922 where he continued his priestly formation and theological studies. .

Bro. Jerome received his sacerdotal ordination from Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger on 23 March 1928 . Rev. Fr. Jerome was nominated as the successor of Rev. Msgr. Vincent V. Derere by Pope Pius XI on 25 September 1937 and he became the first indigenous bishop of the diocese. He was consecrated as bishop on 12 December 1937 at St. Francis cathedral at Ernakulam. He took possession of the diocese of Quilon at the age of thirty-six on 19 December 1937 at bishop's chapel, Tangasseri. Thus he assumed the pastoral responsibility of the diocese, which lasted for forty-one years as an indigenous bishop, who knows the people and who is known by the people. The thrust of his missionary activity can be focused as follows.

Upliftment of the Fisher folk : As the shepherd of the diocese he began his work among the poor fisher folk who constituted the majority in the diocese. He worked for the upliftment of the people without any distinction based on religion, caste or creed. He was known as the father of the fisher folk. On 13 October 1973 addressing the conference of Fishermen he said, �the rock of the Church is St. Peter who was a fisherman. The soul of my diocese is the fisher folk. Your future is the future of the Church�. These words expressed his conviction for the social and moral upliftment as well as his deep concern for the fisher folk. He organized them under the title, �Quilon district union of fishermen' in 1948 and later another organization called �Astamudikayal Matsyathozhylali union'. These movements aimed at organizing themselves to fight against all kinds of oppressions and injustices. Bishop was convinced that the organizations would acknowledge the strength of the communion, would strive for the common good and would open the way for personal development. He thought more concretely of the co-operative societies to help these fisher folk economically. He founded the «coastal development bank» where Christian communities can invest and to attain economic self-sufficiency and the Quilon Social Service Society for the coordination of the social services of the diocese.

Educational Revolution : He turned his attention from the social upliftment of the ordinary fisher folk to the horizon of education, desiring to liberate his people from ignorance and illiteracy. He believed that only through an educational revolution he could fulfill the integral formation of the people especially the faith formation. When he took Charge of the diocese on 19 December 1937 there were only seven educational institutions in the territory of the diocese of Quilon. When he retired from office on 14 May 1978 there were around 105 educational institutions in the diocese. He transformed St. Theresa's major seminary into Fatima Mata National college in 1947 with the motto er matrem pro patria' (through mother for the motherland). He founded Karmela Rani training college as the centre of formation for teachers who will be imparting knowledge and faith in all the schools of the diocese. Anglo Indian boys' high school was established parallel to the Mount Carmel Anglo Indian girls' high school for the development of the Anglo Indian community. Trinity Lyceum English medium School, founded in 1966 is another example for his educational vision.

Viswadharmam Weekly: Another notable contribution is the establishment �Viswadharmam' weekly which was envisioned to protect and propagate faith in and around the diocese. He formed a «commission for the protection of faith» and they were responsible for the �Viswadharmam'.

Institutes of Consecrated Life : He established various institutes in the diocese so that they may commit to the missionary of the diocese more effectively. The congregation of the «sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary», which was centred in Pondicherry was made an independent congregation of the diocese. A new diocesan congregation was founded; the Sisters of the Little Flower (MSST). He invited various other congregations, Salesians, Vincentians, Norbetines, Carmelites and Capuchins, to make the missionary work more intensive in the diocese.

Inculturation: The method typical to his missionary activity was inculturation. In the propagation of faith he adapted the names, symbols and values of the Indian culture, traditions and Philosophy so that the propagation of faith would be comprehensible to the Indian people. The liturgical reformations of the second Vatican council and its proposals for inculturation gave boost to his method of missionary activity. He was the president of the liturgical committee of the Latin hierarchy of Kerala and he played a vital role in the adaptation of the reformations of the council to the Indian culture. The masterpiece of his inculturation is the new chapel of St. Raphael's seminary, which was constructed in 1977. In this chapel he designed the altar in the form of a lotus, which is the national flower of India . Near to the sanctuary he gave an inspiring title «Neer kshir vivek» in Sanskrit, the mother of Indian languages. ( «Neer kshir vivek», these Sanskrit words literally means, «Neer = water, kshir = milk, vivek = wisdom». Near to these words at the sanctuary there is an image of a Goose. There is a tradition, which says that the Goose can distinguish milk from water. It is an image which reminds us that, «we acknowledge, believe and adore Jesus in the Eucharist ) On the top of the Chapel he established St. Thomas cross to remind the presence of the apostle St. Thomas at Quilon. Behind the Chapel it was written AUM (A + AM). In Sanskrit language A is the beginning (ALPHA) and AM is the end (OMEGA). AUM is God who is the beginning and end.

He designed also the Indian image of the Mother Mary, �Baratha Ranji' (Mary, Queen of India). The inculturated image of our Lady combines the elements of the Church and the elements of India without any adulteration. He adopted Indian names for many of his Churches, hospitals and other institutions.Top

His missionary activity was announcing the means of salvation to all the people adapting to their values, cultures and Philosophy. In his circular letter on 19 November 1958 he wrote : �The missionary activity of the Church is the symbol of her spiritual growth and spiritual zeal. Our firm faith in Jesus and in the Church makes as more and more missionaries. Our Lord Jesus the Messiah incarnated into this world, suffered and died, not for any particular nation nor for a specific time nor for a special people, but for all the people of every time and of every nation. Therefore Salvation is for all people and the obligation to proclaim this salvation to all people binds us all �.

Rt. Rev. Jerome M. Fernandez

Rt. Rev. Joseph G. Fernandez (1978-2001)
On May 14 th 1978 , Rt. Rev. Joseph G. Fernandez took over the charge of the Diocese from Bishop Jerome M. Fernandez. His tenure was marked by consolidation of the gains made by his predecessor and forging ahead to heights both in pastoral renewal and educational advancement of the community. Parish renewal through Small Christian Communities under the leadership of Bishop Joseph was a major breakthrough. The rare privilege of ushering in this ancient Diocese to the third millennium was destined to Bishop Joseph G. Fernandez. After a fruitful ministry, Bishop Joseph retired in 2001 and resides at Chaplain's Villa, Umayanalloor, Kottiyam. Bishop Joseph was born in the Pandarathuruthil family in the Maruthoorkulangara parish in the district of Kollam on 16 September 1925 . He joined St. Raphael's seminary in 1939 and joined St. Theresa's major seminary in 1942. When St. Theresa's was transformed into Fatima Mata National College in 1947 he had to join St. Joseph 's seminary, Mangalapuzha at Alwaye. He was ordained a priest on 19 March 1949 on the feast of St. Joseph ..

He was nominated as the successor of Bishop Jerome on 30 January 1978 and was consecrated bishop and took possession of the diocese on 14 May 1978 He guided the diocese in the footsteps of his predecessors in absolute fidelity to the Church and in deep commitment to the people. His missionary vision focused mainly on the Bible apostolate, catechesis, formation of basic Christian communities and proclamation of the Word through media.

Bible Apostolate and Catechesis: The thrust of his missionary activity was the renewal of the Bible apostolate and catechesis in the light of the second Vatican Council's reformations. Through his initiative various courses were organized: courses for the formation of the catechism teachers, refresher courses, discussions etc. He insisted on the catechetical formation of the school teachers. He demanded catechism certificates from the students for the admission in the Fatima Mata national college. Catechism classes were organised till twelfth standard in every parish parallel to the schools. A catechetical bulletin �Christu Sandesam�was published to communicate the information of the catechetical department of the diocese.

He made a new commitment to propagate the Bible and to create a love for the Word of God among the people of the diocese. He formed a Bible commission and organised Bible conventions on the seacoast every year during Lent. He made provisions for Bible in every family in the diocese. Added to this there were retreats for the renewal of Christian life and Bible �Kalotsavam' (Bible Fest) for propagating the biblical message through art and culture.

Basic Christian Communities: One of the great reformations during his period was the formation of the Basic Christian Communities (BCC) in every parish of the diocese. BCC is the formation of small Christian communities in the parishes for the sake of communion among families and sharing of spiritual life. Families come together to pray, reflect, discuss and find solutions for their own problems. They through their representatives participate in the decision making of the parish and the diocese.He conducted seminars throughout the diocese in order to determine the pulse of the people of God in the formation of the Basic Christian Communities. His circular letter dated 14 May 1983 titled, �In the jubilee year of Salvation family renewal programme� proposed the formation of prayer groups in every parish, consisting of 15-20 families in each group and prayer groups to be transformed into communities of love and sharing. He exhorted all communities to participate more effectively in the diocesan �Evangelisation 2000' Programme. The basic Christian communities were officially inaugurated on 16 July 1990 on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Two committees were formed, a committee for preaching the Word of God and another committee for teaching the Catholic doctrines. They were also responsible for the ongoing formation of the animators of the Basic Christian Communities.The bishop in his circular letter of 5 May 1992 instructed the people about the new movement and declared the implementation of the Basic Christian Communities in the parishes. Each parish was divided into small communities, which gathered periodically in order to pray together and to interpret the Word of God while applying it to the concrete life situations. This common reflection of the word in the communities made the members to undertake more profound decisions for daily life in the light of Gospel. Liturgical celebrations were organized by communities. The representatives of the communities formed the general body of the parish, parish council, parish economic council and various commissions such as for Liturgy, catechetics, education, social service etc. There were also commissions in the Forane level and diocesan level. The basic Christian communities created a sense of communion in the parishes, a spiritual revival and the participation of all the Christ's faithful in the parishes and in the diocese.

Word of God through Media: He undertook various initiatives to proclaim the word of God to his people through media and communication. He revived the diocesan weekly �Viswadharmam', founded Catholic press for the Christian publications, �Viswadharsan' Media centre, Music School and �Viswadharsan' Book Stall. He encouraged the production of audio cassettes of Christian songs and organised �Vachanamela' to proclaim the word through arts. He also made a revolution in the field of education by founding new schools and upgrading the already existing schools. There are around 16 schools to his credit.

Canonical Constitution of the diocese of Punalur : One of the great developments of the diocese during his period was the canonical constitution of the new diocese of Punalur, bifurcated from Quilon. The diocese of Punalur was canonically erected by the apostolic bull �Verba Christi Adoranda� on 21 December 1985 and Rt. Rev. Mathias Kappil was nominated as the first bishop.

Full Name & Present Address:

Bishop Emeritus of Quilon, Chaplain's Villa , Cherupushpa Nivas, Umayanalloor P.O., Kollam � 691 589



Home Parish

Three Kings' Church, Maruthoorkulangara, Alumkadavu P.O., Kollam 690 573

Name of Father

Gabriel Fernandez

Name of Mother Josephine Fernandez
Date of Birth , Place

16-09-1925, Pandarathuruthu

Date of Baptism  
Date of Confirmation  
Dt. of Entry to Minor Seminary 1942 - 1947
Dt. of Entry to Major Seminary 1947 - 1949
Date & Place of Dioconate

10-04-1948 Trivandrum

By Rt. Rev

Dr. Jerome M. Fernandez Bishop of Quilon


19-03-1949 Tangassery

By Rt. Rev. Dr. Jerome M. Fernandez
Episcopal Ordination 14-05-1978 By Rt. Rev

Dr. Jerome M. FernandezBishop of Quilon

Course of studies

LMS School Cheriazheekkal

1930 - 1931


St. Ligory's LPS, Kovilthottam

1931 - 1932


Govt. LPS, Cheriazheekal

1932 - 1934

Preparatory Class.I-III

Govt. English High School , Chavara

1934 �1939


St. Aloysius English High School, Quilon

1939 � 1942

Latin, Philosophy & Theology

St. Teresa's Regional Seminary, Quilon

1942 � 1947


St. Joseph 's Pontifical Seminary, Always
1947 - 1949
Fields of Activity


1949 May

1949 Oct.


Vicar Cooperator

1949 Oct.

1952 May


Vicar Cooperator

1952 June

1953 May


Vicar Substitute

1953 May

1953 June


Vicar Cooperator

1953 June

1954 March


Vicar Substitute

1954 March

1955 Jan.


Vicar Oeconomus

1955 Feb.

1955 Sept.

Infant Jesus Boarding, Tangassery Warden
1955 Oct. 1959 Dec
Parish Priest
1959 Dec

1963 May

St. Raphael's Seminary, Kollam


1963 May

1971 July

FMN College , Quilon


1971 July

1978 May

Bishop's House, Tangassery

Secretary to Bishop & Chancellor

1978 May

2001 Dec.

Bishop's House, Tangassery




St. Joseph 's Pontifical Seminary Chairman, Episcopal








Vice Chairman



C.B.C.I. Commission for health




K.C.B.C. �do-


1995   St. Joseph 's Pont. Seminary Chairman, Ep. Commission
Rt. Rev. Dr. Stanley Roman
On December 16th 2001 Rt. Rev. Dr. Stanley Roman was installed as the thirteenth Bishop of the most ancient Diocese of India. He began his Episcopal mission with a new vision for the integral progress of the diocese. Anchoring his spirit of action on his motto “to serve in holiness and justice”, he maneuvers the pastoral administration of the diocese in a transparent and the faithful-oriented manner. The constitution and restructuring of the diocesan canonical bodies like pastoral council, senate of priests, college of Consultors, various Boards for various ministries and apostolate and their vivacious function can be considered his major achievements within a short time of office. He gives much importance to the empowerment of women and weaker sections of the community and initiated educational steps that offer better opportunities for girls to pursue their education in a convenient ambience. He is sensitive to the changing world of modern applied sciences and growing job opportunities in the field of nursing, which made him, start a self-financing College of Nursing in the diocese.
It is a creative project of his tenure. A new school in the diocese after the glorious reign of Bishop Jerome has begun by him, named Trinity Lyceum at Nanthirical being an annexe to the Trinity Lyceum at Kollam. He has ushered in Programmes that strengthen the solidarity and fraternal bond among the clergy like frequent gatherings and interactive sessions, which have become regular and an imperative factor of the ongoing formation of priests in the diocese. He has initiated many disciplinary and regulatory measures in the area of Liturgy, sacramental administration, charismatic movements, parish festal procession and celebrations, etc. The encoded guideline for the diocese published in the name “Ajapalana Dharsanavum Margareghakalum” is a typical memento of his reformative activities. It is found novel in the history of the diocese that he convened the clergy and laity together on a dais to make a pastoral plan, which resulted in a “Live in” Programme of the presbyterium and thus procured Vision and Mission statements for the diocese. The importance he gives for ecumenism and inter-religious harmony is outstanding. A diocesan pastoral center named ‘Catalani Centre’ is his unique contribution, which enables various departments of Ministries and Apostolate to work under a better coordination.Top
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