Andul Road Local House
Andul road Local House administers to the Society's activity in the Indian union state of West Bengal. The beginning of the activity of Pilar Fathers in Kolkata and west Bengal was because of the Tribal Transit house which caters to the Chotanagpur people going to Andaman Island by ship. In order to start the transit house the fathers arrived in Kolkata from Andamans. Later Stella Maris Parish was handed over to the Pilar Fathers, from where the management of the Tribal Transit House was taken care of. Fr. Nolasco Dias was the first priest to be officially working in the Archdiocese of Calcutta and the First Pilar Parish Priest in Stella Maris, Kiderpore. With the changing situation in the Andamans and raising of Port Blair into a Diocese and appointment of Bishop Alex Dias, the role of the regional cum Mission Superior became redundant and therefore the Regionalate was shifted to Danesh Sheik Lane Howrah, thus the Mission in Kolkata and West Bengal expanded.Danesh Sheik Lane - Andul Road Community:
Nirmala Mata Maria Girja, Danesh Sheik Lane Howrah: During the British Raj a factory (GKW) was run by a foreign company and some of the trained staff was brought from Krishnanagar. They were trained by the Salesian priests. Most of them were Catholics and felt the need of a church to conduct the Sunday Mass. The local people would not sell their land for the purpose of the construction of a church. Meanwhile the Catholics began to conduct Sunday Mass in one of the old houses adjacent to the present Church. The priest used to come from Calcutta or from Howrah. Eventually St.Teresa of Kolkata intervened and the local people allowed the Archdiocese to buy a piece of land and build a church at Danesh Sheik Lane. Fr. Laborde and other Priests of the Archdiocese looked after the spiritual needs of the Catholic community for quite many years. When Pilar Fathers started their Regional House at Danesh Sheik Lane in 1996, Nirmala Mata Maria Girja was also entrusted to Pilar Fathers. Fr. Vincent Fernandes, was the first Priest in charge of the Nirmala Mata Maria Girja. Then many Priest members of the society came and went. During the time of Fr. Joseph Fernades, the momentum for the construction of a new church started. During the time of Fr. Daniel Fernandes, a new church was built.
The High point in the History of Nirmala Mata Maria Girja was when it was elevated to the status of a Parish on 11th July 2010. Fr. Luciano Falcao, sfx was its first Parish Priest. Today, the Parish consists of more than 200 families (Which changes time and again because of floating population) and presently the total is approximately 900 parishioners. The flock consists of Bengalis, people who come in search of jobs and settlers from Chotanagpur and Anglo Indians. The languages spoken by the people are Bengali, Hindi and English. Hence, liturgical services are conducted in all three languages in rotation.
"One meal a day" and "medical project", at danesh sheik lane, howrah: One day Fr. Franklin Rodrigues the former Provincial of the Kolkata Province, witnessed a man searching for food in a roadside dustbin. He was moved by this pathetic sight and began to ponder as to how the extremely poor and the destitute on the streets of Kolkata could be helped.
An idea that conceived in his mind, came to birth on 30th October 2007. On that day, taking the Van, they carried some food and went under the Howrah Bridge and the by-lanes where the poor lie in abundance. They provided them with a hot meal which the Destitute received with immense gratitude. Thus, "One Meal a Day" Project came to birth. Every day food is cooked early in the morning and by 7am it is served to the poor lying under the bridges, pavements etc
This was also supplemented with a "Medical Project" which is carried out at Danesh Sheik Lane. Here, the poor people who are deserving of the help, are examined by a Doctor and prescribed and supplied with free medicine. Thanks to Indienhilfe and others who support the Project.
"Transit house" | Danesh Sheik Lane: Fr. Peter Fernandes, sfx, arrived at Andul, Howrah, on 26th July 1996. Fr. Cajetan Colaco, sfx, and Fr. Piety Fernandes, sfx, assisted him in organizing the new community of Pilar Fathers at Danesh Sheik Lane, Andul Road, Howrah.
The local people at Danesh Sheik Lane requested the Pilar Fathers to have an English Medium School. In response to this, the Pilar Fathers opened St. Xavier School in the house of the Archdiocese at Andul Road. This house was given to the Pilar Fathers by the Archdiocese for their temporary use. (In that same year in June 1996 the M.C. Brothers had vacated their candidates from this house. The M.C. Brothers had taken over this building from Fr. Francis Laborde and had added the second floor to accommodate their candidates. Fr. Laborde had constructed this building for the handicap children.) Eventually, the Pilar Fathers purchased the whole building along with the plot of land. This House, was now the"Regionalate" of the then "Eastern Region." With the seat of Administration having been shifted from the Andamans to Andul Road, Howrah, and with the expansion of the Region to the North East, members began to frequent the Regionalate. Thus, the House also came to serve as a "TRANSIT HOUSE".
With the Region having grown to be become a Province, the "REGIONALATE" was transformed into a "PROVINCIALATE."
The House which served as a Transit House for the then Region, now continues to be the "TRANSIT HOUSE" with members, benefactors, friends and guest coming in large numbers, besides being the Provincialate.
Stella Maris Unit Garden Reach, Kolkata:
This Community resides in a place called Garden Reach situated to the South of Kolkata and is a beneficiary of the Holy river Ganges (Hoogly). Stella Maris (meaning: Star of the Sea) which was built as a Church in the year 1947 by the Calcutta Diocese which was mainly meant to render spiritual services to the sea-farers. The Pilar Fathers were invited to take over this activity in the year 1988 with Fr. Nolasco Dias, sfx as its first Parish Priest. The Catholic population constitutes of Bengalis, Tamilians, Keralites, Adhivasis and Anglo-Indians are about 500 in number. These faithful are mainly absorbed in the Railway services, Port Trust jobs and other private undertakings. The liturgical celebrations are normally conducted in Hindi and in English. The Stella Maris Community is involved in three other important activities.
The Sea Farers Apostolate: The Parish Priest is also the Port Chaplain to take care of the spiritual needs of the sea-farers. There are quite a few ships and vessels that sail from different countries to Kolkata. The Port Chaplain visits the port and even celebrates the Eucharist on some of the ships, when needed and possible. The Sea-farers visit our Parish very often and share many of their inspiring experiences that encourage us to sail with the Lord in the rough seas ahead. It is indeed an enriching ministry.
Birth and Care of the Andaman Transit House in Kolkata: The Pilar Missionaries in A & N Islands sensed the hardships and woes of the Adivasis in Calcutta while they travel to their home land - Chottanagpur and vice versa. The people spent days and weeks at the river banks, This pitiable condition prompted the Pilar Missionaries to look for a decent shelter for these poor Adivasi people. The Andaman mission spared two energetic priests to materialize this vision in Calcutta. They were late Fr. Pio Lobo and Fr. Blaise Mascarenhas. They stayed in St. Ignatius Parish at Kidderpore and carried out their search for a suitable place for the transit house. After extensive efforts, they managed to get a small plot of land of the Calcutta Port Trust in Kidderpore. Meanwhile late Fr. Pio was transferred back to the Islands and Fr. Nolasco Dias joined late Fr. Blaise Mascarenhas in this task. Both of them worked hard to get the plans materialized and built the transit house.
Education : Stella Maris Primary School (English and Hindi Medium) was started in the year 1959. It was managed by the Sisters of Apostolic Carmel (Mangalore) untill the Pilar Fathers took over the School activity in the Academic Year 1994-1995. In the afternoon session, the Hindi Medium which is known as the Literacy Mission for the street Children is till Class IV.
Infant Jesus Parish: The mission of Gangarampur was started in the year 1964. It was an initiative of St. Teresa of Kolkata and Fr. Vangasurya. Archbishop Henry D'Souza the former Archbishop of Calcutta encouraged this venture, as it was part of the Archdiocese of Calcutta. The place came to be known as "BOYS TOWN", as young boys who were picked up from the streets mostly orphans and were taken care of by the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity were brought and kept here. The mission was handed over to the Salesians and later to the Pilar Fathers in the person of Fr. Piety Fernandes, sfx together with other members were entrusted with the mission and began to minister to the flock but initially were not residing in the place.
The Society bought the building commonly known as "BATA BUILDING" and the property surrounding it, from the Boys Town Society.
On 12th October 2000, the Parish of Infant Jesus was erected at Gangarampur by Bishop Salvadore Lobo, the Bishop of Baruipur, to which Diocese this Parish belongs. Fr. Agnel D'Souza, sfx was the first Parish Priest. The Parish primarily caters to the families of the orphan boys of the original "Boys Town" who are now settled and living in the Parish. The Missionaries of Charity Sisters actively collaborate in the activities of the Parish and have a house for the destitute.
Fr. Agnel Minor Seminary: The "Bata Building" and the property that was bought by the Society at the beginning became the presbytery for the Parish Fathers, until the new presbytery was built. St. Xavier school was also started, which was later closed. In the year 2010 some non formal courses like computers, dance, remedial and tuition classes; spoken English etc were started together with the Minor seminary for the society.
The Society of Pilar had a great vision to begin its Apostolic and Missionary activity in North-East Regions. Some members were sent to start the pioneering work and look out for lands for educational, Pastoral and Social ministries. Late Fr. Jacinto Almeida was the first member of our Society to begin the spade work. His attempts did not bring success. During late Fr. Jacinto's time, the Society bought a flat as a Transit House for our members who used to travel to Darjeeling and Nepal. It also served the purpose for our member to reside and pursue to look out for places to start other ministries.
When Fr. Franklin Rodrigues was the Provincial, in 2008 he came into contract with Rt. Rev. Thomas D'Souza the Bishop of Bagdogra. Thus, the small parish of the Sacred Heart at Siliguri was entrusted to the Province. Fr. Patrick Lakra was the first Parish Priest of our Society at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, till we gave back the Parish to the Diocese in 2017.
Because of the need of Jalpaiguri Diocese, members were lent to work in the Cathedral Parish. Late Fr. Wilson Patrick became the first priest to give his services there officially, although attempts were made as early as 1998 and priests were sent to learn the language and culture. Due to untimely death of a Priest in Jalpaiguri Diocese and due to the shortage of priests, the Society took over the parish at Falakata and gave services for three years. Late Fr. Wilson Patrick was the Parish Priest. Since a lone member gave services at Sacred Heart Parish, the closure of Falkata and need of the Diocese of Bagdogra, the Society accepted to form a community in Gulma and take care of the activities there on behalf of the Diocese.
St. Theresa Parish Gulma: The Parish of Gulma is situated near Milan More, area under Darjeeling Territorial Board. Most of the families have migrated from Chotanagpur. There are more than 300 families. Beside there are Sarna and Nepali families which are Non- Christian. Due to the system of holidays in tea gardens, Sunday's liturgy is celebrated on Wednesday and Sunday. People are very co operative and are fully involved in the program of the parish.
St. Theresa School:The school is up to 4th standard at the moment. The medium of instruction is Hindi. There are over 250 students. Plans are there to slowly change the medium of instruction and upgrade the school. English medium Nursery class has already been started in January 2018.
Good Shepherd Institute: This is the candidate house of the Diocese. Pilar Fathers take care of the candidates. The basic task is to teach them English and to see that they are slowly introduced to the seminary life and helped in discerning and strengthening their Vocation.
This land was bought in the year 2004. It was bought for the purpose of a school and also to build the Provincialate. Later on, being a secluded place, the thought was mooted that it could be also a centre for Retreat and Seminars. Process is on to obtain civil permissions to materialize the plans.
Bhopal Local House
Bhopal Local house caters to the units and activities of the Society in the state of Madhya pradesh. Bhopal mission of the Society began with the arrival of Fr. Franklin Rodrigues, the pioneer on 10th of March 1986 to Bhopal, with a mandate to work with the Archdiocese of Bhopal for two years. Our first activities began in Ghandinagar, which is situated close to the Bhopal airport on the northern side of the city. Bhopal mission is a hub of activities, which encompass religious, social and educational spheres, with primary aim of helping the poorest of the poor, social outcast and downtrodden. Indien Hilfe, Germany supports us in financing these activities. Later at the behest of the Archdiocese of Bhopal, in the year 1990 another mission in Beresia was accepted. This Mission of Beresia is a constituent community of Bhopal Local House.
Our Lady of Pilar Church, Shantinagar: : Our Lady of Pilar Church, Shantinagar, in the Archdiocese of Bhopal had a very humble beginning. Fr. Franklin Rodrigues, sfx a member of the Society of Pilar extended his helping hand in the relief work in 1986. His arrival at Bhopal marked the beginning of this Church. The Church was founded, but there was no building to accommodate the faithful who came to worship especially on Sunday and other feast days, due to the lack of space they had to move to the Chapel of FCCl Sisters in the neighbourhood. A new shrine built as Our Lady of Pilar, which until now serves as the Church. The Church grew; the faithful consists of the poor, very dear to the heart of the Lord and number of religious congregations. The parish functions through the collaboration of SCC groups, parish pastoral Council and other Committees.
Fr. Agnel English Medium School, Gondipura, Bhopal: Fr. Agnel higher secondary School is situated at the bottom of a hillock at Gondipura, beside the Ayodhya Bypass. Fr. Agnel School presents a very magnificent view. Way back in 1998 the founder and visionary Fr. Franklin Rodrigues, started the school with two classrooms and today this small sapling has grown into a fully-grown tree. Fr. Agnel School also had a very humble beginning. The School grew from strength to strength. Religious sisters, especially Hospitalars Sisters joined us to help in the schoolwork, today the Congregation of Pilar Sisters are rendering their service.
"Wisdom Triumphs" being the motto of the school we strive to inculcate in the students noble values, qualities of mind, heart and body, for life. The vision of the school is to build a community of informed and responsible men and women capable to face the 21st Century with confidence. Our mission is to prepare our "AGNELITES" boys and girls to scale great heights in academics, moral standards and life skills for a future that belongs to them.
Prakash Vidyalaya at Shantinagar, Bhopal: Prakash Vidyalaya at Shantinagar, is a Hindi medium higher secondary school, it began in 1994, it was the need of the hour. In the course of helping the people affected by the poisonous gas tragedy. Fr. Franklin was inspired to do something for the children of the poor and the marginalized. Initially the FCC Sisters administered the school. They still render their services to the school. Through the help of Indien Hilife the school was built in 1993, which is named Prakash Vidyalaya.
To have stable number of students in the school the society opened Balwadis in the villages. Simultaneously, hostels for boys and girls and for the poor children of the neighbourhood and elsewhere in Madhya Pradesh and other states. In these hostels many of them are the children of leprosy patients and bonded labourers. There are also children of rag pickers from the streets, nomads and slums dwellers. Either many children have no parents or even if they have, their living condition is miserable. The children of the tribals are also here who are the oppressed. These are the children the school is taking care of and helping them to be worthy citizens through education. These types of children have shelter in our hostels and educated in Prakash Vidyalaya. Every year there has been an increase in the number of children coming to the school and hostels, which is beyond one's expectation.
Mahatma Gandhi Kushtha Asharam - Ghandinagar, Bhopal: Mahatma Gandhi Kushtha Ashram is a colony for the people suffering from leprosy Originally sheds were built by government at Gandhinagar, 60families were occupying these sheds. In 1986, Fr. Franklin met the leprosy patients at Gandhinagar. He had met all of them in the month of May in the scorching summer and seen their miserable situation. Early morning they had to go begging and in the afternoon they came back to the Ashram totally exhausted and sick. He saw their sorrow state and approached Indienhilfe for help, which they obliged. Through the help of Indienhilfe a decent leprosy colony was constructed where each family has a decent little house. The Kushtha Ashram is a registered society with 60 families. Late Mr. Satyanarayan, himself a leprosy patient, was its Director for many years. We have our own tailoring school in the Ashram. We conduct many programmes in the ashram on various occasions. Christmas gathering, washing of the feet of lepers by Fr. Franklin on the Maundy Thursday and Teacher's day celebrations of Balwadis draw the attention of the locals.
Hostels Bhopal: Fr. Franklin puts it in his own words, Balwadis are the beginnings of our educational ministry at Bhopal. To have a stable number in the Prakash Higher Secondary School, Balwadis in different villages were opened. At present, there are five Balwadis in and around Shantinagar. These Balwadis and Hostels are managed by the Pilar Fathers. Many of them are the children of leprosy patients. There are also orphans, street children, nomad and tribal children in the hostels. The purpose of these hostels is to help and reach out to less fortunate ones to build lives and make them worthy citizens. Many of the children after they finish their schooling are helped to complete their graduation, post graduation, ITI, skilled training, nursing etc.
Pilar Mata Dispensary: The dispensary began with for the patients suffering from the infamous Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984 in Gandhi Nagar Bhopal. However, a couple of years ago it got its present look. Initially it had been instrumental in alleviating the pain and suffering of the victims of the gas tragedy. However, patients suffering from other diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and other illnesses in the locality are being taken care of right from its beginning. It has been of great help especially to the poor people of this area thanks to the well- wishers who have been helping run it financially. Pilar sisters along Dr. Reetu are still rendering their services to the sick in this dispensary.
Home for the Destitute & Bonded labourers colony:close to the Mahathma Ghandi Ashram on the right is a home for the destitute, which caters to the destitute abandoned or found on the roads. They are brought to the home and cared for, until their death. On the left of the Gandhi Ashram is a big colony build for the freed bonded labourers. The bonded labourers were freed from the clutches of the Lords by paying their price. They lived in misery; the society built a colony for them, where more than 130 families were settled. The Society also runs a Balwadi and dispensary in the colony. Many of the children are in our hostels and pursuing their education
St. Francis Xavier Church, Berasia: The Archdiocese of Bhopal entrusted to us the mission of Beresia, which is 50kms away from Shantinagar. The Bishop had asked us to celebrate Sunday mass in the early 1990', there were a few catholic families who had migrated from Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. Every Sunday our fathers would go to celebrate mass for these people. The mass was celebrated in a rented room, which was very congested and inconvenient. We purchased the land, where we could build a residence and a place of worship. There stills stands a tamarind tree, under which the Sunday mass was celebrated for few years. Finally, with the help of Indienhilfe we were able build a modest residence and a separate place for worship
Fr. Agnel Higher Secondary School, Berasia: In the year 1995 the Society thought of opening a school at Berasia which could help educate the children of the surrounding villages. Once again, IndienHilfe came forward to help and the kindergarten block was build. Today it is a Higher secondary school affiliated to the State Board, Fr. Agnel School at Beresia has a name as it excels academically. One very positive thing is that because of our help to the people through this school there is a lot of good will among the people and various communities. By educating the students, we have been able to change their mind that is vulnerable to fanaticism. With the presence of our school, things have been changing. Only education will help the people to face the challenges of life and become better citizens to bring about a change in this world.
Dibadhi Local House
Dibadih Local House administers Society's activity in the Northern state of Jharkhand, which was formally a part of Bihar. This state has been one of the backward states in the Indian Federal Union. This state is mostly in habituated by the Tribes known as "Karhia", "Orao" "Munda" and "Santhal". This area is also known as "Chotanagpur" and all the inhabitants are known as "Chotanagpuris". The people over here are farmers and depend for their lively hood on agriculture; which in turn depends on the monsoons which is normally scarce in this part which has a toll on their economy.
Our Pilar Fathers have been working in these areas since 1974 and serve the people in different Mission Stations. Pilar Fathers in the past have given their services in the mission of Bastar, Diocese of Ambikapur, Siadhi in the Diocese of Jamshedpur and also in the Mission of Jhamar in the Diocese of Khunti. Beside our own and other Parishes and mission stations in Chotanagpur have been the preparatory ground for the missionaries to gain experience of the culture, language, religious practices etc., in order to work in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some parts of Assam (Diocese of Dibrugarh) which are largely occupied by the people migrated from Chotanagpur.
The first Pilar Father, Taumaturgo Pais (Gamcha Father), reached Agharma in 1977. Erected in 1978 as a parish, Agharma is the oldest mission station of the Society of Pilar, in Jharkhand. Till 1993 it was in the former Ranchi Archdiocese. Now it is part of Gumla Diocese. In its inception, Agharma comprised two large tribal communities - the Kharias and the Oraons. With the erection of another parish at Deogaon, in 1995, Agharma is now without Oraon population. There are a few Munda families. There are other larger communities of Hindus, the so-called OBCs and a few Muslims. It is with these people that the Pilar Fathers have been living to "build communities." Pastoral care of the flock, revitalising the existing organisations of the people and people oriented social programmes aimed at development comprise a hub of activities for the people of God.
Schools: Agharma has two primary schools, a middle school and a high school. The high school is there to facilitate the students of the area to pursue their further studies. Many of the children come to school on foot or a bicycle from the furthest distance being 15 kilometer
The aim of the Pilar Fathers in opening a High School, initially, was twofold - to enable the needy students to continue their formal education and at the same time be in touch with the source of their sustenance, the land. So, it was called agro-based. Though there were tremendous difficulties in running the school, the unique initiative was highly appreciated. Unfortunately on account of tremendous difficulties the scheme did not gain momentum, but the school continues to be a source of education for the children of Agharma. Unaided as it is, it is a great challenge for the Pilar Fathers
Later, in 1980, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) joined the Pilar Fathers as their co-workers. Besides assisting the Pilar Fathers in the pastoral care of the people and education, the FMMs' most valuable service to the people is health care.
The Society of Pilar, was in need of a better launching pad in the Eastern part of the country. It had no mission station other than Agharma till the year 2000. In 2003 All Saints' Catholic Church, Doranda was entrusted to the care of the Pilar Fathers with Fr. Taumaturgo Pais as its first Pilar parish priest. The parish was established in 1963.
The Catholic population is almost tribal with some south Indians who too have settled here because of jobs. Participation in the Sunday mass and liturgical celebration is encouraging. The Eucharist on Sundays is celebrated in four places, namely, Doranda (the main Church), Nirmala College, Dibadih and Hinoo. All the congregations extend their helping hand in various liturgical and social activities of the parish, like catechism, Easter and Christmas celebrations. Their presence is a blessing to the parish of Doranda
It is a parish belonging to the Archdiocese of Ranchi, which is situated about fifty kilometers from Doranda. Area-wise, it is a large parish with not less than a population of 10,000 Catholics. It is an established Parish comprising of 29 Units which include 35 villages.
The main apostolate of the Pilar Fathers here is the pastoral care of the people, which includes the celebration of the sacraments, village tours, care of the sick and youth apostolate. Traditional Parish structures are there in place. One only needs to animate and make optimum use of them.
The teaching of the Church is impregnated in the minds and hearts of children in a unique manner, which is a specialty of the Nawatanr Parish. Every Saturday evening, the children from the villages numbering approximately 245 in number march towards the Parish along with their meals. The Bible School begins with the praying of the Rosary at 04:00 p.m., followed by Catechism, which is imparted to them with the aid of Modern Communications, "Audio Visuals." The Sunday Eucharist begins at 06:30 a.m. followed by the Catechism instructions. The children in this way are taught to celebrate the Lord's Day in a meaningful manner and are strengthened in their faith. There are Gabriel Brothers and St. Ann sisters who have their own schools and give their support in parish activities.
Dibadhi is on the outskirts of Ranchi city and at present comes under the purview of Ranchi municipality. It is one of the nine units of the parish of Doranda and situated towards its western part along the railway track that runs to Lohardaga, which comes under Archdiocese of Ranchi.
Dibadih serves as a house for Administration of Religious and Civil Society's of Pilar Fathers. The members coming for work to Ranchi, when sick or on transit stay in this House. The unit also caters as a mass centre of Doranda Parish. The Pilar community at Dibadhi also takes care of the pastoral needs of the unit people, as per the direction of the Parish Priest of Doranda. Dibadih has about 250 Catholic families. According to the archdiocesan plan it is supposed to be erected as a separate parish. Besides Catholics, there is a bigger number of tribals who are not Christians. Here there are also Christians who belong to Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Besides other projects of Pilar Fathers, like Goat and Litchi for poor in Jharkhand are administered from Dibadhi.
Fr. Agnel School: Education is an important apostolate of the Dibadih community. As its activity the unit has Fr. Agnel English Medium School which was started in 2010. Dibadhi being situated in the outskirts of Ranchi the poor and daily wage workers of the city reside there. Their existential situation is rather pathetic. They have not benefited from the spread of education in Ranchi and its vicinity. Poverty with allied evils and ignorance in every sense of the term is their mark. Fr. Agnel School tries to provide quality education to the children of these poor families. The school is upgraded every year.
In short, Dibadih, is full of potentials to be realized for the greater glory of God. The sisters of the Gujarat province of the Sisters of charity of St. Ann collaborate with us in the education and pastoral ministry. The MC contemplatives Sisters also have their home, where our fathers give spiritual services.
Chirayan Mission: It is a Mission Station which is to be raised into a full fledged Parish with around 13 villages under its jurisdiction, with a circumference of around 10 kilometers or more. This mission station was handed over to the Pilar Fathers (Society of Pilar) by the Diocesan Bishop from June 2013. Earlier Chirayan was part of Novadih Parish. It is on the border of Jharkhand, and Chattisgarh. It is administered under the Diocese of Gumla and it is on the extreme west of the Diocese. Since Novadhi Parish was a vast parish, the priest could not give attention to this area. No bridge to cross over the river and no proper road added to its backwardness. For these 13 villages, a Primary school is available, as the small children find it difficult, especially in the rainy season to get to their school in Novadhi, which is approximately 12 - 15 KM from Chirayan and worst still from other far flung villages. Earlier, this school was run by the community with the help of the Novadih Parish Fathers, in a mud hut with tiles as its roof cover. It is in a much dilapidated state, with water seeping through in the rains. Being quiet at a distance and since the Fathers from Novadih could not give attention; the standard of the school was very poor. With no proper motivation and guidance, the children dropped out of the school and instead preferred to go to shepherd their live stock.
With the coming of Pilar Fathers who stay in a small rented house at the moment and with proper attention and motivation to the teachers and the students, the school has picked up in number and excelled in its standard. With the number of children increasing the class rooms are not sufficient to accommodate them. Presently the classes are also conducted in the church, which is also of mud walls and mud floor and is also in a depleted condition. Our endeavor is to build this mission with basic facilities for worship and education of the poor and the deprived children.
Guwahati Local House
Guwahati Local House administers Society's activity in the the state of Assam. The Society stepped into the North East in the year 1994 at the invitation of Late Metropolitan Archbishop Hubert D' Rosario of Shillong, whose untimely death shifted the focus to Nagaland and the four pioneers who landed there who were warmly welcomed by Rt. Reverend. Dr. Abraham Alangimattathil S.D.B., Bishop of Kohima. Rev Fr. Tiburcio Ferrao the then Superior General of the Society, sent a team comprising of his General councilors namely late Fr. Philomeno D' Costa and Fr. Kyriel D' Souza to Nagaland to work out the modalities. Within a month or so, four members namely Fr. Jerry Fernandes, Fr. Alex Luis, Fr. Walter Miranda and Fr. Roque Noronha were sent to work in the Diocese of Kohima. With this, the Society slowly spread its roots into the North East namely in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh (which at one time was attached to the Guwahati House), Meghalaya, and Assam.
In the year 1999 Fr. Roque Noronha and Fr. Jerry Fernandes were sent to Guwahati to purchase land to start a mission in Guwahati. In 2004 Fr. Jerry Fernandes was sent to the Diocese of Shillong with a view of working for the diocese. Later a property was purchased in Mawlien Shillong with a plan of establishing a formation house. The Society is in the process of establishing an Apostolic School to cater to the vocations of the North East and if God willing very soon will start the construction work. At the moment the place is under the care of Guwahati Community of Pilar Fathers.
The four Pilar Fathers stepped into the Diocese of Kohima and gave their services in three places, namely Holy Cross Dimapur, Catholic Publication centre, Kohima and Thenyzumi. In the course of time Pilar fathers also gave their services in the Parish of Khonoma, which was later given back to the Diocese in 2011. Diocese of Kohima is the first mission of the Pilar Fathers in the North East.
Thenyzumi: Fr. Jerry Fernandes and Fr. Roque Noronha were the first Pilar priests to work over there. Later many Pilar Fathers came and went, fulfilling their role to the best of their ability as appointed and relieved by the Superiors. Pilar Fathers are assisted by the Salesian Sisters in Thenyzumi at the moment. St. Andrew High School at the centre where our priests reside and there are over 600 students. The Parish Church is in Thenyizumi which is about 3 kms from the residence of the Priests. A middle school in Chouzuba town was started with a view that in future this place would be given to the Pilar Fathers.
There is also a hostel for the boys and girls. The boy's hostel is taken care of by the Pilar fathers and the girls' hostel is taken care of by the Sisters. The uniqueness of this hostel is that each child prepares their own food in the common kitchen. Each child will bring his/her own food articles, fire wood etc. for preparation of food. The younger children are helped by their elder siblings or friends. Beside the Church in Thenyizhumi there are seven other village churches where the Fathers render their services and form the part of Thenyzumi Parish.
In the year 1999 Fr. Roque Noronha and Fr. Jerry Fernandes were sent to Guwahati to purchase land to start a mission in Guwahati. They were put up in St. Joseph Church Pan Bazaar, where they lent their services to the church and also searched for land. In the year 2000 a small temporary house was put up in the plot of land purchased at Pamahi and our fathers started staying there. In 2001 the Local Community at Pamahi was constituted, with Fr. Roque Noronha and Fr. Rafael Lobo as its members. The residential facilities also improved in the course of time and this house served the members, collaborators, benefactors etc on transit. In September 2005 the foundation stone for a school in Gorchuk was laid by Fr. Franklin Rodrigues the then Provincial.
Many plans were made for having a school over here in Pamahi. But by the grace of God and after a long discerning process, it was decided to upgrade the school and foundation stone was laid for the construction of new school building which is steadily advancing and will be completed soon.
On the pastoral side, we priests offer our services to the parish of Sonaighuli when asked and also offer Masses in the surrounding religious communities. Sunday Mass is held in the Bethany Convent chapel for the Catholic community of Gorchuk, Borogaon, Kothabari, Pamahi. There are 25 families attached to this Mass Centre. We visit the families which are attached to our Mass Centre, and also surrounding families. Mostly the families are Boros; but a lot has to be done to strengthen their faith. Recently adult catechesis has been started as some do not know much of the bible and the Catholic Faith. Plans are also in the offing to bifurcate this catholic community from Sonaiguli Parish and raise it into a separate parish.
The Pilar Fathers community at Nongkhlaw was started much before the parish of St. Francis Xavier which was established on 19th Dec 2004. The first members were Fr. Jerry Fernandes Parish Priest and Fr. Damaciano, which was then under the Archdiocese of Shillong, but later it became a part of the newly formed Diocese of Nongstoin.
The Unit consists of:
- The Parish of St. Francis Xavier.
- Twenty Three Schools:
- 5 Upper primary Schools.
- 18 Lower primary Schools.
- St. Francis Dispensary.
Parish: The parish of SFX has 50 Villages under it which is further divided into four Zones called Sub Districts. Every Sunday the priests celebrate two Masses one at the Parish Centre and the other at the sub district level. Since the celebration of the Sunday service is a whole day programme, we cannot have another Mass in any other place. There are two touring sisters and two touring catechists who tour 20 -21 days in a month catechizing people besides new converts. Besides this there are touring programmes for the priest in the villages. The Youth, fathers & Mothers association conduct retreats and seminars for themselves and also go for proclaiming the word. Every first Friday of the month there are meetings for the touring Sisters and Catechists and instruction for teachers. Besides the yearly planner the church leaders take all relevant information to their respective villages when they meet on this day.
Schools: There are schools in the villages of the Parish. The parish priest is the Secretary who is overall and directly responsible. There are persons like headmasters who are given the charge to run the schools in the villages since the villages are very far away and the secretary cannot make daily visits to the schools. The medium of instruction is Khasi till Std. IV, later it is English Medium. The school that is at the Parish Centre is fully English Medium.
Dispensary: There was never an intention of opening a dispensary, but it is one, which evolved by the Grace of God.In the beginning medicines were kept at home for the personal use and for small emergencies of the members. During the house visits, the fathers saw the miserable conditions of the people with wounds which were not cared for. They started cleaning their wounds and giving them medicines for small ailments with which they were healed. Thus they gradually started flocking to the fathers for medicines and intercessory prayers. Fr. Damaciano used to give the medicines and Fr. Jerry would pray over the people and the medicines. This is how the dispensary came into existence. Today we have quite a big dispensary in Nongkhlaw, which gives yeoman services to the sick from far flung places. Besides rendering services in the parish, school and dispensary there are plans for hostel, higher secondary etc.
NAMPONG LOCAL HOUSE
Nampong Local House administers Society's activity in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. From the beginning, the Pilar missionaries at Nampong manifested strong commitment to proclaim the kingdom of God at any cost and kept the flag of the Society's charism flying high. In June 1997, Fr Avon Vaz sfx, a newly ordained priest commissioned by the then Superior General, Fr Tiburcio Ferrao sfx, arrived in Arunachal Pradesh. He was stationed in Khonsa. He started his pioneering missionary work by visiting the pagan areas around (especially lazu) under the guidance of Most Rev. P.K George, the Bishop of Miao who was the then co-coordinator for Arunachal Pradesh under the Diocese of Dibrugarh. His missionary forays included stiff opposition and persecution from religious fanatics. He addressed their physico-psycho-spiritual needs thus making the Gospel message very tangible. He collaborated with Mother Teresa Sisters to address the menace of the killer Tuberculosis in the region. He also instituted a number of sub centers in the remote pagan areas. Some young men and girls were also identified by him to be trained in Faith at the Tinsukia Bible School. This Youth did sacrifice a lot to stand for their Faith on their return from the training.
On 5th August 1998, Fr Eleuterio Antao, another newly ordained Priest arrived at the Salesian Center at Kheti in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh. After a two day briefing, He was appointed by Most Rev Joseph Aind, Bishop of Dibrugarh to look after Nampong, Manmao and Jairampur mission stations.
On August 09, 1998, Fr. Eleuterio Antao, at a solemn Eucharistic celebration in St. Paul's Church was installed as the In charge of the center at Nampong. At his arrival there were a few Catholics amidst a sizeable population of Baptists and Pagans. These Catholics were baptized in 1992 by the Salesian Priests but their Faith was unattended to. Fr. Eli had the responsibility of nurturing their tender and raw Faith. He began visiting the families participating in all the chores of their life. He would even go to the fields to work along with them. This Rapport brought the people close to him. They were beginning to be ready to listen. The first act of Faith formation of these Catholics was giving them a deep understanding of the sacraments. He started teaching them the Mass prayers and explaining their meaning to them. He introduced the walking of the way of the cross in the villages making each represent one station of the cross. This public act of Faith in the villages drew lot of opposition from the Baptist brethren but only for some time. Soon the vibrant catholic communities at Nampong, Manmao nourished in faith through continuous visits by Fr. Eli which began to make waves. In January 1999, Fr James Mascarenhas sfx arrived in Nampong. He was sent to Lazu to replace Fr Avon who was sent to Tezu, the adjacent district. Fr James sustained the missionary work of his predecessor.
On December 23rd 1999, Fr Tiburcio Ferrao sfx, the former superior General, visits Nampong. He was taken up by the immensity of missionary work that was done and yet to be done in the future and declared the mission of Nampong as the frontline mission of the Society. He met the public leader's, gained a proper perspective and scope of the missionary work and on his return to the Generalate, immediately initiated the process of signing a contract with Most Rev. Joseph Aind, the Bishop of Dibrugarh in order to take up Nampong as a mission for the Society of Pilar.
In June 2000, Fr Tiburcio Ferrao sfx formed the community of Pilar Fathers at Nampong constituting of Fr Avon Vaz sfx, Fr Eleuterio Antao sfx and Fr James Mascarenhas sfx. The Society of Pilar's, St Xavier's School and hostel for the children from the far away villages got started in the Church premises with just twelve students. Fr Avon Vaz sfx was appointed as the Superior of the community and looked especially after the prospects of evangelization. Fr Eleuterio concentrated on the pastoral care of the flock at Nampong and Manmao. Fr James took care of the school and the hostel. St Xavier's hostel was started with two clear objectives: Give an opportunity of Education to the catholic and pagan children from the remote areas; and train these children with basics of Faith, so that these children, in turn would teach basic catechism to the other children and even the elders from their respective villages. Therefore the hostel admission from the beginning was restricted to only Catholics and pagans from very remote villages. The Pilar Pioneers at Nampong were very clear about their work: Go ye and Preach. They did it through a personal witness of their lives as individuals and a community spreading the contagion of the Gospel all around. The division of work among these three young missionaries was exemplary. After which many members were appointed and transferred as per the need by the superiors. Each of them played their role as much they could and contributed to the growth of the mission in Nampong local house. Pilar Sisters and the Disciple sisters collaborate with the Pilar fathers in the pastoral as well as education ministry in the Nampong local house.
St. Paul Parish: Although faith arrived in Nampong in 1992 with the first baptisms, Nampong was erected as a Parish in 2006. Fr. Eleuterio Antao, sfx was its first Parish Priest. The church is dedicated to St. Paul. Originally only three families received the baptism, but now the growth of Catholics has been tremendous. Since the faithful are new and they are the first generation of Christian, they need constant catechesis. On the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the arrival of faith a new church building is inaugurated and blessed.
St. Xavier School: Since its establishment in 2000, St Xavier's School has contributed significantly to the development of education in the area. The School is an initiative of Society of Pilar, North East, India (Nampong) to actualize a Faith driven Entrepreneurship Education cum Leadership in Arunachal Pradesh. St Xavier's, Nampong, follows a learner-centric approach and has successfully adopted a policy of openness and flexibility in learning through a pragmatic collaboration between the students, parents, locals and the teachers. Education in St Xavier's Nampong is disseminated in conventional, as well as emerging inter-disciplinary formative areas. The School intends to establish collaboration and partnership with government agencies and other schools and international organisations in order to promote Gospel based Peace leadership in the world. The school takes bold initiatives to keep the students abreast with their talents and to keep them connected with other st udents in the country. One of the biggest contributions of the School has been making available to children from far flung villages on the Burmese border (potential havens of drugs and naxalism) an opportunity of learning and an ambience of love to grow as children of God. The School develops its academic programme as systematic and holistic empowerment of a student as a beloved child of God and a global citizen.
St. Xavier Hostel: The St Xavier's Hostel at Nampong is very unique. Children from far villages, Catholics and pagans, are hand-picked by the Parish Priests and the local catechists for admission to the hostel. The objective is clear: Uproot them from the black holes of drugs and naxalism in the remote border areas and provide them with a faith-rich ambience and education to blossom into Peace entrepreneurs and leaders, thus imparting in the most attractive manner community awareness and education and training in need-based and relevant areas, building the skill and knowledge capability of the community. Different presentations and competitions are held throughout the year to tune up the children with the requisite confidence, skills and qualities of heart, mind and spirit.
Our Lady Of Pilar Parish: In 2005, the Manmao parish was created and entrusted to the Pilar fathers by Rt. Rev. Joseph Aind SDB, (Bishop of Dibrugarh). Fr Avon Vaz sfx was appointed as the first Parish Priest. Earlier, Manmao was a substation of Nampong Parish and was ardently catered to by Fr Eleuterio Antao sfx. Currently, it is in the Diocese of Miao. The Manmao Parish constitutes of 12 substations, most of them being inaccessible by vehicles, being in the mountains along the Indo-Myanmar border. The farthest stations can be reached by walking for nearly 11 hours (50 kms) on a hilly terrain. They are known as 'Tangsa', meaning 'hill people'. From the time the Pilar fathers took over this mission the catholic population has grown. The parish has been named after Our Lady of Pilar. Being new Christians, the people are in the faith- formation stage. Hence Bible training and prayer conducting courses are held regularly.Fr. Agnel's Children's Home: The schools in the villages mostly provide primary education up to class five. Many students give up their education after that, owing to the lack of facilities. To provide such facilities to the children, the Fr. Agnel's Children's Home was started in 2007. The first lodgings were in a hut. There is a separate infrastructure for boys and girls now. The students are enrolled in the local government school. But they are provided with facilities, including electricity which is not available in their villages. They are also provided with catechism and tuitions. They are the junior- catechists who train others when they go home for holidays. This has also helped to raise the standard of the local school as well as reducing the high drop-out rate.
The people have still vestiges of nomadic lifestyle and hence they often find it difficult to manage their finances, besides generally being below poverty level. Hence the parish also tries to teach them self reliance. The villages are reached by walking and going up and down the mountain ranges which have no road access currently. Usually children accompany the priests/ sisters to the villages. They guide and help them along the way, as most of the way is through the forest. Though the journey may be tiring and troublesome, the welcome offered by the people in their villages makes one forget all the blues.
The children's home strives to provide proper and all around education to the students. The children are trained in sports, public speaking, leadership, self- reliance, in addition to academics. They learn art-craft and weaving, and cooking. An annual day is also celebrated to help the students discover and develop their talents. Tournaments, competitions like debate, singing, elocution, poetry recitation etc are held to provide them with the much needed exposure, which they lack otherwise.
Fr. Agnel Primary School: A primary Co -Ed school was started at the behest of the people in June 2016. It was started in the hostel and church facility was available. A school building is being built and is at a verge of completion. In the first year itself there were more than 50 students. Due to lack of a quality school in the area and the dedication of our priest and sisters the number has been growing fast. Children from Manmao town come as day scholars.
Divine Mercy Shrine: The centre at Jairampur caters to the catholic faithful in Jairampur town, old Khamdhu and new khamdhu villages. A new church building was constructed in 2010 and is dedicated to Divine Mercy. Regular liturgical program and Holy Eucharist are held and it is part of Nampong Parish.
Education Complex: In order to enhance the educational work of the Society in the area a building was built in 2010. At the moment the building is used as a hostel for both boys and girls from remote areas, who are pursuing their higher secondary studies in Jairampur. Efforts are on to start a higher secondary School.
Dibrugarh Mission: The Society had ventured into Nampong Mission through Dibrugarh Diocese, which later became part of the new diocese of Miao. Keeping the above in mind, the Society has opened a new hostel in June 2018. This hostel is for tribal tea garden boys pursuing their college and other higher studies in Dibrugarh town. The Society members also give their services at the cathedral in Dibrugarh and the hostel run by the diocese for school going boys. The idea of opening a new mission station in Dibrugarh diocese is in the offing.
PORT BLAIR LOCAL HOUSE
Port Blair Local House administers Society's activity in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Island.It was indeed a prophetic vision of Rev. Fr. Joseph A. F. Albuquerque, sfx, the then Superior General of The Society of Pilar to agree to the decision of the Holy See and accept the missions of Andaman & Nicobar Islands under the care of the Pilar Fathers. 15th Dec. 1965, was a red letter day in the life of the Society of Pilar as two young and energetic missionaries, Rev. Fr. Mariano Dias, sfx and Fr. Tiburcio Ferrao, sfx stepped on these beautiful emerald islands. At that time the whole of Andaman & Nicobar Islands constituted only one parish (Port Blair) with a residential priest. On 5th March 1968, two more mission stations were opened one at Baratang and the other at Mayabunder. The luxuries the missionaries could afford for their lodging and boarding was a hut with bamboo mats for walls and thatched leaves over the head built by the faithful from that area.
Like the mustard seed of the Gospel, the Catholic Community of the Islands, once consisting of a handful of people, is today a flourishing community spread all over the Union Territory. This was indeed a humble beginning of the Pilar Fathers in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Today the mission station of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is well established into parishes with residential priests engaged in various pastoral, educational and social activities. Thanks to the dynamic initiatives of our predecessors.
The Pilar Fathers cater to all sections of the people residing in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. As the job opportunities were multiplied by Andaman and Nicobar Administration for the all round development of the Islands, many people from different states came to these islands, hence along with Hindi, the need was also felt to learn the language and culture of the people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Pilar Fathers left no stone unturned. Fr. Domnic Fernandes, sfx, and Fr. Nicholas Rodrigues, sfx, were specialized in the language and culture of the people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu respectively.
Due to the problems of communication and distance, Fr. Sebastian Rodrigues, sfx, the then Superior General, recommended to have missionary meetings twice a year which were aimed at assessing and sharing each one's experience, problems, success and failures, searching for suggestions, future planning, etc. Hence based on these missionary meetings, Fr. Tiburcio Ferrao, sfx, the then dean and the superior of the mission, framed the magna carter of the missions known as "The Common Mission Policy". Following the orientation of the Common Mission Policy, each camp and settlement had the benefit of a visiting priest at least thrice a year. Catechism classes were started, annually two common pre-nuptial courses were planned, house visiting were given top priority; hence the seed was sworn for the foundation upon which the Diocese was built and continues to grow.
In the field of education, thanks to the untiring efforts of various Pilar Fathers, Nirmal Senior secondary School, Carmel Senior Secondary School, Multipurpose school (Sagritara School), Prakash Vidyalaya (St. Xavier School, Mayabunder), Home Science School (Grini School, Kishori Sashaktikaran Kendra - Port Blair & Mayabunder), St. Xavier School-Port Blair, St. Xavier School - Mannarghat, Our lady of Pilar Girls Hostel, Fr. Agnelo Boys Hostel, have been functioning and plays an important role in the life of the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Well aware of the social dimension of the mission of the Church, the Society organized various programs for self reliance like well digging, cattle rearing, demonstration of the new agriculture methods, etc. A fair Price shop was also set up at Baratang.
Having felt the need and the importance of the indigenous clergy in the development of the local Church, stress was laid on promoting vocations among the youth of the Islands. A compulsory vocation camp was started for the students of Class X from 1979 which sowed the seed for an Apostolic School which was started in 1983, for those aspiring for Priesthood.
As the mission was growing, the need was felt to elevate the mission station into a Diocese and Rt. Rev. Alex Das Nevis Dias, sfx, a young and energetic Pilar missionary was consecrated as the first Bishop on 20th Jan. 1985.
When the destructive tsunami destroyed these islands in 2004, the Society of Pilar left no stone unturned to be of service to the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Rev. Fr. Tony Lopes, sfx, the former Superior General of the Society of Pilar visited Andaman and Nicobar Islands after a month of the killer wave and gave a zest to the members by urging the members "Let the wave of destruction be replaced by the wave of compassion". With this command and motto of the Superior General, the members went all out to give the compassionate Lord to the people in need.
ST XAVIER PRE-PRIMARY SCHOOL LAMBAINE, PORTBLAIR: St Xavier School Lambaline, was started by the Society of Pilar on 2nd July 1992. Late Fr. Peter Gomes was the first Headmaster of the school. The school began with Nursery classes and then was upgraded to Lower K.G. and Upper K.G. Since 1992 a lot of children have passed through this institution. They well remember the institution for the environment of love, dedication and good education that they received. The good work is continued till today and although it is a Nursery School there is rush to get admission. Parents prefer to admit their children in the school in order to give them a good foundation. Many past pupils and the staff have happy memories of the school, as it has been the nursery for both to enhance in their lives. Part of the Building also serves as a residence for Pilar Fathers who are working in Port Blair and a transit house for Pilar Fathers working in other Islands and also for the guest, benefactors and friends.
Our Parishes: Pilar Fathers have a hand in shepherding the Catholic communities of all the Islands of Andaman and Nicobar from 1965. The hard work led to the establishment of many parishes and eventually the erection of the catholic Diocese of Port Blair. At the moment Pilar Fathers cater only in two Parishes viz Wimberlygunj and Hutbay from their very inception. Being the parishes of Pilar Fathers, importance is given for the promotion of culture and also efforts are made to approach people of other denominations and faiths. Ursuline sisters collaborate with us for the pastoral work of the parish.
Wimberlygunj Parish: Wimberlygunj is situated in the South of Andaman. The parish was established by carving it out from the Parish of Mathura on 16th August 1998. It has 10 sub stations and more than 500 families. St. Francis Xavier is the patron of the Parish.
Hutbay Parish: St. Anthony Church, Hutbay is situated on a Island called Little Andaman. This Parish also caters to the faithful in the Island of Car - Nicobar. It has more than 600 families. It was established on 13th June 1998.
Manarghat Education Complex: Pilar Educational Complex is the culmination of the land marks of the Society's' Missionary endeavors in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Having stepped in Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the year 1965, the society grew as a distinct mission in these islands. The pioneering missionary work in these islands mainly consisted of the pastoral work with education as a parallel activity. The non-formal education centers were started wherever our Fathers started a new mission station. They were popularly known as 'Naya Jyoti' schools. We also took care of the Management of the schools of the diocese, namely 'Nirmala Senior Secondary School' Port Blair and St. Xavier School, Mayabunder. In the mean time we also started our own school St. Xavier school, at Lambaline, Port Blair. In due course of time when the Mission grew, it was erected into as the Diocese of Port Blair, in the year 1984. Since the major part of the apostolate was taken care of by the Diocese of Port Blair, we limited ourselves to few parishes, of course with our own distinctive missionary characteristics. In the year 2004, the idea also came of starting a Senior Secondary School of our own and subsequently the foundation stone was laid in our property at Carbyn's Cove by Most Rev. Alex Dias in the presence of then Provincial Superior Fr. Franklin Rodrigues and all the members working in the Diocese of Port Blair. As the land development work was going on in full swing the location was hit by the destructive 'Tsunami' in December 2004. The location is filled with sea water leaving no possibility of further development work. Subsequently the project had to be terminated at Carbyn's Cove and shifted to Mannarghat in Wimberlygunj Parish.
A strong need was felt to start a school and hostels for the education of mainly Tsunami affected children of different islands and the under-privileged. To pursue this objective, the local council worked day in and day out so that the work may be completed in time. On 2nd July 2007, the auspicious day of our reorganization, St. Xavier School and Our lady of Pilar Girls hostel buildings were blessed and inaugurated by most Rev. Alex Dias. The Sisters of Charity of St. Ann, Mumbai Province collaborate with us in the education ministry at the complex.
St. Xavier School, Manarghat: The school had a humble yet a strong beginning. From then on, the school has grown in, strength, quality and infrastructure. Our school has always been on the award winning list of the common celebrations. We keep in mind our pioneering characteristics. We have started the secular cell wherein we go to different schools and conduct a small program on religious harmony and cultural integration. Students also engage themselves in some social work.
Our Hostels at Manarghat: The Society of Pilar Andaman, runs two hostels, namely, Fr. Agnelo Boys Hostel at Mannarghat and Our Lady of Pilar Girls hostel at Padauk Bagicha. These hostels had their humble beginning in the year 2007. The primary aim of these hostels is to provide the opportunity of learning to the underprivileged, mainly the Tsunami victims, the poor and the orphans. The students of these hostels go to four different schools i.e. St. Xavier School Mannarghat, and other Government school in the vicinity. We involve our students in academic, socio-cultural, religious, extracurricular activities, games and sports for their all round development.