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Major Events

"Here are some major events in the development of Kurji Church from 1855 till it became a parish in 1977 and a few years thereafter. The recent history of events is not exhaustive. "


1855, Nov 29: A piece of property (7 bighas) purchased at Kurji, by Capuchin Bishop Athanasius Zuber, Vicar-Apostolic of Patna.


1858: Catholic boarding school for boys founded. Later another piece of property for the school purchased (5 bighas). Later paid boarders admitted. A chapel for boarders built.


1860: Hartmann appointed Bishop of Patna, a second time (1860-66). Kurji became headquarters of Patna Vicariate (C/o Capuchin Bishop Anastasius Hartmann) .


1864, April 3: Two Calcutta Brothers from Calcutta came to help out at Kurji, St. Michael’s School.


1866, April 24: Bishop Hartmann died at Bishop’s House, Kurji.


1868: Foundation stone laid for a middle school, by Bishop Tosi, dedicated to Immaculate Mother of God.


1890: Church of Sacred Heart was built in St. Michael’s School campus.


1891, Feb 2: Blessing of the Church at Kurji.


1894, Oct 24: Bishop Pesci of Allahabad handed over to Irish Christian Brothers charge of St. Michael’s High School (till now a Middle School).


1897: Earthquake, but no damage to building except a crack each on hospital and chapel building.


1919, July 1: Diocesan Seminary of Allahabad started at Kurji Priests’ Residence, inside St. Michael’s School campus.


1921: Seminary shifted to Allahabad, as Jesuits were asked to take over Patna Mission.


1921: Bishop Louis Van Hoeck, Ranchi Belgian Jesuit appointed Bishop of Patna.


1921, Mar 21: First American Jesuits arrive at Patna, put up at Kurji House. Fr. Thomas Kelly, SJ first Jesuit appointed to Kurji in-charge of Khagaul Church also. Besides, boys and staff at St. Michael’s, there were 20 Indian Christians and 10 other parishioners. Nov 1, All Saints feast, Nov 13, Corpus Christi procession, from church through High School Grounds.


1922 Jan: Apostolic Delegate to India Bishop P. Pisani visited Patna, Kurji Sacred Heart Church.


1923: Fr. Kilian, SJ worked in Kurji (served at Khagaul, Danapur, Ara, Buxar).


1923: St. Louis Preparatory Apostolic School, founded at Kurji St. Mary’s Mission, by Bishop Van Hoeck. This was shifted to Patna City later, only to be temporarily brought back to Kurji in 1928.


1923-24: Chapel isles and choir built.


1924: The Sacred Heart Church could contain only about 150 boys, but there were nearly 200 Catholic boys in the boarding. So 50 had to stand out. Two wings added to accommodate another 60 boys. Statues and other decorations installed later.


1924 Sept: Started Our Lady of Sorrows school for Hindus, by Killian. Free tuition-some 55 boys within a week. Rumour of conversion spread by Govt school teachers who lost their students. Some boys asked by their former teachers to instigate. But situation quieted later. By October 39 boys.


1925 April: A Reading room for college students and others. Students from Gandhi National College come to read Christian literature at the priest’s house.


1925 July: Alter done up, new big statue of Sacred Heart in the church.


1925 August: Visit of Apostolic Visitor to India, Bishop Lepicier.


1926: Fr. Carl Miller, SJ at Kurji for 3 years. Also Fr. Frank, SJ at Kurji.


1926 Dec: Our Lady of Sorrows School had 80 boys, all Hindus, free education but they had to learn Catechism; two Catholic teachers in the school.


1928 Feb: Apostolic School of St. Louis (28 students) temporarily stationed at Fr. Miller’s Bungalow at St. Mary’s Mission. Fr. Frank Loesch, SJ takes charge from Fr. Joachim of Patna Diocese.


1928, July: St. Louis Preparatory Apostolic School (28 inmates) shifted to Chuhari. Fr. Leon Foster, SJ in charge of St. Mary’s Mission, Kurji. Ara and Buxar served from here.


1932, Jan: Fr. O’Leary, SJ in charge of the Indian school here, was chaplain in the boarding school for Europeans and Anglo-Indians conducted by the Irish Christian Brothers. Also in charge of the Catholic students in Patna Colleges and training schools.


1932, Sept 26: Bishop Bernard Sullivan, SJ blessed the marble altar in the Chapel.


1934: Brothers’ Residence damaged, whole front pulled down and rebuilt. Slight damage to the rest of the school building.


1935: Bishop’s (Hartmann) Room in St, Michael’s School underwent repairs.


1937 August: Fr. Loesch shifted Superior’s Residence from Kurji to a rented residence in Exhibition Road, Patna, started a Catholic hostel for students of Patna University, of Patna and Ranchi missions, In 1940 Jan opening of St. Xavier’s, Patna, Fr. Moran, SJ first Principal.


1938: Fr. Forster chaplain at Kurji St. Michael’s.


1938, Nov: Grotto of Our Lady, in front of the Chapel built. Chaplains at Kurji-St Michael’s Jesuit Fathers Kilian, Sontag, Miller, John Barrett, Raymond Mullen, Augustine Forster in early years and Frs. Chacko Kavatt, George Thana, Charles Carver, and so on.


1968 Dec 4: Patna Jesuits took charge of St. Michael’s School.


1973-74: More and more Christians began to settle down in the area. To cater to their needs, a new plot (the present plot) of land was acquired which houses the Hartmann School, the church, Sacred Heart Convent, etc., by 1973-74.


1975: Building a new church at the present site (across the road, opposite St. Michael’s High School, began in 1975).


1977, Nov 20: The church was blessed by Bishop Augustine Wildermuth, SJ and named it Queen of the Apostles’ Church. Grotto in St. Michael’s campus shifted to Church campus. Hartmann School re-located in the same campus in 1977.
Fr. Anthony Panangatt of Patna Diocese became the first parish priest. He emphasized spiritual approach, gave less of material help. He started group retreats, group Masses, first Communion and marriage preparations, organized charismatic renewal programmes. Subsequently, Frs. Gregory Thekkel, Devasia Chirayil, James Amakkatt, Henry Rebello, SJ, Pat Rebeiro, SJ, Jerome Durrack, SJ, Vincent Francis, SJ, Gregory Gomes, SJ, and Johnson Kelakath SJ, served as parish priests.
On the wall painting behind the sanctuary of the church (old church), Patna Jesuit Historian Henry Pascual says, “ An impressive fesco on the back wall of the sanctuary cathes the eye of the visitor and takes the soul across the centuries, back to the Pentecostal event, and to the Upper Room, where Mary and the Apostles were transformed by the power the Spirit. The painting sis a successful achievement of the Indian and Christian. The artistic touch of realistic portrayal of faces and dress of contemporary India.


2006: Construction of a larger church, in place of the old one, was begun under the supervision of Fr. Devasia Chirayil.


May 31, 2010 :—The new church was blessed on May 31, 2010.

Address: Catholic Church, Kurji, Digha Ghat P.O., Patna-800011
Email: rcsj@rediffmail.com
Phone: +0612-2262760

Visitor : 26196
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