The earliest Catholic missionaries to visit Udaipur were two French Capuchin priests -- Fathers Jean and Pius -- who came here from Mhow on foot in 1891. But the first Christian missionary to settle down in the town was Dr. Shepherd, a Scottish Presbyterian. He came in 1877. Because of his medical skill and personal qualities he found favor with the royal household. The church near Chetak Circle, now called the Church of North India, is said to have been a gift from the Maharana to the British engineers who had helped build the Fateh Sagar Lake.
As far as Catholics are concerned, the mission work in the areas, which at present constitute the diocese of Udaipur, began towards the end of the 19th century. It was the French Capuchins of the Paris Province who were entrusted with the evangelization of a large part of the Central Provinces and Rajputana, as the area was then known. Capuchin Father Charles started work and settled at Thandla in Jhabua district in 1896. Through him and other valiant and pioneering missionaries, the work progressed and missions increased in number.
The mission stations of Palasdor, Mahuri, Ambapara, Amlipara, Jamburi and others in Kushalgarh were founded in those early years. In 1934 Fathers Charles and Bernard laid the foundations of the future diocese of Udaipur by setting up the two missions of Ambapara and Mahudi respectively. Later in the late 1940s Fathers Leopold, Agathange and Ignace were instrumental in establishing the missions of Amlipada, Jambudi and Dungarpur.
Originally, parts of the present states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and the whole of Rajasthan came under one prefecture. In 1913 this prefecture was made diocese of Ajmer, as it was then called, and Father Fartunatus Caumont was appointed its first bishop.
In 1935 the major part of the Central Province was separated from Ajmer diocese to form the new prefecture apostolic of Indore, which became a diocese in 1952. It was in 1949 that Father Leo D'Mello was appointed the first Indian bishop of Ajmer diocese. There was talk about splitting the Ajmer diocese further, as it was considered too large for close supervision from the point of view of evangelization as well as administration. But it was only in the time of Bishop lgnatius Menezes that the bifurcation came about. On Dec. 3, 1984, Ajmer diocese was further bifurcated into the diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur and the diocese of Udaipur.
On Feb. 14, 1985, Father Joseph Pathalil, who had worked in the tribal belt of Udaipur for over two decades, was ordained as the first bishop of the new diocese of Udaipur.
In 2002 the portions of Madhya Pradesh in Udaipur diocese was separated and joined to parts of the diocese of Indore to form the new diocese of Jhabua.
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.