In an area of 28,337 square kilometers, Meerut diocese covers civil districts in two northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Dehra Dun, Haridwar, Moradabad, Rampur, Jyotiba Phule Nagar, Ghaziabad, Baghpat and the tehsil of Dhampur in Bijnor district. Most of the people are Hindus and Muslims. Christians are mostly poor and live in the villages. Meerut diocese has the highest number of Catholics in the region.
The languages spoken by the 30, 000,000 people in the diocese are Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and English.
Detached from Agra archdiocese, Meerut diocese was formed on Feb 20, 1956. The first bishop was Bishop Joseph B. Evangelisti OFM CAP. He was succeeded by Bishop Patrick Nair (1974- 2009). Bishop Oswald Joseph Lewis was ordained co-adjutor bishop in 1998 and in 2005 he was transferred to be the first bishop of the newly created Jaipur diocese.
The new diocese of Bijnor was formed in May 1972, detaching the civil districts of Bijnor (excluding Dhampur tehsil), Chamoli, Garhwal, Tehri and Uttarkashi form Meerut diocese.
The Church of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana was raised to the status of a minor basilica by on Dec. 13, 1961. It was built in 1822 by the then Queen Begum Yohanna Sumru, a Muslim convert. It is a pilgrim center.
The diocese also has a strong prison ministry: 'Asha Kiran.'
Most of the villagers are involved in farming. They cultivate rice, sugarcane, wheat, barley, jowar, bajra, maize, pulses, oil seeds, potato, tobacco and cotton. The Ganga River and its tributaries make the land fertile.
Most of the rural population consists of dalits (former untouchables).
Ghaziabad in the diocese has many industries like sugar mills, steel, chemical and car factories.
Missionary thrust was the focus of the diocese. It has been giving importance to education: running local Hindi medium schools in villages and English medium schools in towns. They are mainly run by Religious Sisters and Brothers, allowing the priests to focus on the pastoral ministries.
The antiquities discovered from like Meerut connect its history to the early stone age and the Harappan culture.
The area has many holy shrines and pilgrim centers. Haridwar is an important pilgrim center for the Hindus. Thousands of devotees gather here for the Kumbh Mela. The hill station Mussorie is a great tourist center, especially in summer.
Ornamental brassware work is famous in Moradabad and carved woodwork in Saharanpur in the diocese.
Gonsalo Garcia was born on Feb. 5, 1556, to a Portuguese father and Indian mother of Konkani descent, at Agashi village at Bassein (now Vasai), near Mumbai city in western India. His father was a soldier stationed at Fort Bassein, a Portuguese fort. Gonsalo received his education under the Jesuits. While assisting at the Church of the Holy of Jesus at Bassein, he developed a friendship with Jesuit Father Sebastian Gonsalves, who eventually became his lifelong mentor and guide.
This Filipino layman martyr saint could be rightly called the patron of infant baptism because it was after the baptism of an infant through his instrumentality that on 2nd April 1672 Pedro was martyred along with his companion missionary Fr. Diego San Vitores who baptised the infant. This infant was of a mother who got converted to Catholicism.
Lorenzo Ruiz, also called Saint Lorenzo of Manila, is a Filipino saint venerated in the Catholic Church. A Chinese-Filipino, he became his country's protomartyr after his execution in Japan by the Tokugawa Shogunate during its persecution of Japanese Christians in the 17th century.
Andrew Kim Taegon was the first Korea-born Catholic priest ordained by the French Bishop Jean-Joseph-Jean-Baptiste Ferréol at Shanghai in 1844.
On every first Friday of the month thousands of Catholics flock to Holy Cross Church of Cherpunkal in Kerala, India to revere Infant Jesus and St. Thomas, the founder of the church. The church stands on the southern bank of Meenachil River. This fabled church, also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross)Church, belongs to Catholic Diocese of Palai of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
St. Anthony Cathedral at Wahakotte in Kandy is a melting of cultures and religions in Sri Lanka. Wonder worker St. Anthony of Padua is a highly respected saint among Sri Lankans of all ethnicities and faiths. Thousands visit this pilgrimage site all the year round. On the feast of St. Anthony on June 13, this national Catholic shrine draws tens of thousands of faithful from all over the country.