History of the Society
Birth-pangs of the Kolkata Province
At the request of the Holy See in Rome and the need of the Ranchi Archdiocese (at that time late Archbishop P. Kerketta), Society of Pilar was called upon to attend to the spiritual needs of the Adivasis settled in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Pilar Fathers took up the Mission of Andaman and Nicobar in 1963. Fr. Tiburcio Ferrao and Fr. Marian Dias were the first priests of the Society of Pilar to go to this mission. Prior to their going to the mission, they spent one year studying Hindi and local culture in Chottanagpur. When our missionaries landed on the Islands, Fr. John Kerketta was the only priest who looked after the spiritual needs of the people in the Islands. He could hardly reach to the far flung islands once or twice a year. Santana Sisters (DSA) assisted Fr. John in the Pastoral and Educational apostolate. Fr. John had opened Nirmala School for Adivasi children and Santana Sisters were the teachers in this school. Pilar Fathers worked hard to bring up this mission. Pilar Fathers had their Regional Superior and he would animate the mission activities on behalf of the Ranchi Archdiocese. Thus this mission remained with the Pilar Fathers till 1984 when it became the PORT BLAIR Diocese. Fr. Alex Dias, sfx was appointed its first bishop. After the appointment of the bishop the role of the Regional Superior took a new turn. During this transition period Fr. Nicolas Rodrigues was the Regional Superior and Superior of the Mission. Fr. Peter Gomes and Fr. Peter Fernandes continued to be in this post but it was limited to the life and few activities of its members. Pastoral and development works were totally assumed by the Bishop. Hence position of the Regional Superior needed a change.
Members who were working in the Andaman Region felt the need for the expansion of the region towards the North East of India. The regional Superior, Fr. Peter Fernandes, took the first step to move out of Andaman and Nicobar islands and established the Regional House at Danesh Sheik Lane, Howrah. He arrived on the 26th July 1996. Fr. Cajetan Colaco and Fr. Piety Fernandes assisted him in organizing the new community of Pilar Fathers.
On 2nd July 2004, the Region was declared a Province of the Society and named as Kolkata Province. Fr. Franklin was appointed as the first provincial of the new province. From then on the relay of carrying the baton has continued.
At the moment, till Provincialate building comes up in Unsani, Pilar Fathers use the existing building at Andul road as their Provincial House, for the 'Kolkata Province' of the Society of Pilar.
With the initiative of the Regionalate stepping out from Andaman and later raising of the 'Eastern Region' into 'Kolkata Province', the missions in West Bengal, Jharkhand and the North East have expanded and many missions were added and discarded as per the need. The origin of the Province, the units in Andaman & Nicobar continues to be administered under the Province. Bhopal mission which was under the direct supervision of the centre was also later added to the Province and Chennai was attached to Goa Province.