Amid a huge gathering of Christians and priests including sixteen bishops from across the country, the catholic diocese of Miao, in eastern Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday ordained and installed Tamil Nadu native Fr Dennis Panipitchai as its auxiliary bishop during a ceremonious religious function held in Tirap district’s Borduria in Arunachal Pradesh.
The newly-consecrated auxiliary bishop Dennis Panipitchai will assist Bishop George Palliparambil of Miao in all his duties in Eastern Arunchal Pradesh comprising the civil districts of Anjaw, Changlang, Dibang Valley, Lohit and Tirap.
Archbishop Emeritus of Guwahati, Thomas Menaparampil, who acted as the chief priest during the installation ceremony, consecrated the bishop-elect Dennis Panipitchai as the auxiliary bishop. He was assisted in the consecration by Arcbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong and Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati.
Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Panipitchai (60) was born in Colachel of Tamil Nadu. After completing his schooling in St Mary’s Parish School in Colachel, Fr Panipitchai made it to the Salesian pre-novitiate of Shillong in Meghalaya in 1976.
He did his philosophical studies at the Divyadaan Salesian Institute of Philosophy in Nashik, Maharashtra and completed his theological studies at Sacred Heart Theological College in Shillong. He also holds Masters degrees in Theology and Economics.
He was ordained as a priest on December 27, 1991. Since then, Panipitchai has served the region as Dean of Studies of the Salesian pre-novitiate Rua Home in Jorhat, administrator of Don Bosco Bible School in Kheti, Tinsukia, in-charge of Don Bosco School in Borduria, Principal of Don Bosco School, Miao, Parish priest of Mary Help of Christians Parish in Borduria, Principal of Don Bosco School, Kohima, Nagaland and Parish priest of Mary Immaculate Parish in Chingmeirong, Imphal.
Pope Francis had appointed him as the auxiliary bishop of Miao on June 8, 2018.
The consecration ceremony incidentally was organized in the Borduria Catholic Church, the first Church in Arunachal Pradesh. The venue also holds special significance to the Christian community as the site was visited by Saint Mother Teresa on August 2, 1993. The event thus also marked the silver jubilee of the visit of St Mother Teresa.
The catholic population in eastern Arunchal Pradesh under the diocese of Miao is around 83,500 out of the total population of 4,80,120. About 90 priests and equal number of nuns render their service to the people in the region. The diocese has about 33 mission centres including primary schools, high schools, hostels, primary health centres, presbyteries and skill development training centres.
The event was also attended by Wanglin Lowangdong, MLA of Borduria and advisor to the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Wanglat Lowangcha, former Home Minister of Arunchal Pradesh, Tirong Aboh, MLA Khonsa and Techu Aran, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Tirap district, a release stated.