Monday, June 17, 2024

Archbishop Emeritus, Dominic Lumon release History of the First Manipur Catholic Community/Church on 72nd Foundation Day


EKHON| UKHRUL:Most Rev. Dominic Lumon DD, Archbishop Emeritus of Imphal Archdiocese released the history of Sacred Heart Church, Hungpung, the first Catholic Community of Manipur on the occasion of its 72nd Church Foundation Day on 11th February at the Sacred Heart Church, Hungpung, Ukhrul District. Along with him were Parish Priests, Fr. Lijo George and Asst. Fr. Albert Rakesh, Parish Priest of St. Joseph Cathedral Parish, Imphal.

Titled as ‘Thotchan’, the book holds significance for the entire Catholic Church in the State as it was the Sacred Heart Church, Hungpung where Late Shomi Dominic pioneered the first Catholic Community in Manipur. As a tribute to Late Shomi Dominic, his tomb, laid beside the Parish Church was also consecrated. Late Shomi Dominic, then a Student at Shillong, Meghalaya helped convert 33 households with 350 members into the Catholic faith.

On the occasion, Most Rev. Dominic Lumon DD Archbishop Emeritus wished the Church Community a happy Foundation Day and said, “11th February, 1952 is a very important and historical day for us as we received the gift of faith.” He urged the community to be grateful and live in faith according to the Church teachings.

In the foreword of ‘Thotchan’, Archbishop Emeritus wrote, “The new chapter in the history of the Manipur mission took a concrete shape when the new Diocese of Dibrugarh was erected in 1951 with Rev. Fr. Orestes Marengo SDB as the New Bishop, who was invited by Mr. Dominic Shomi of Hundung village, a former student of St. Anthony School, Shillong. On February 11 1952 Fr. Umberto Marocchino SDB received into the Catholic Church 350 members. Late Dominic Shomi had already briefly instructed and spread the faith among his people and Fr. Marocchino further instructed 33 families to prepare them for baptism. According to another version, on 11 February 1952, Fr. Umberto Marocchino baptised the first 33 families, founding a catholic community of 350 members in Hundung.”

Archbishop Emeritus Dominic Lumon with Sacred Church elders

Meanwhile TS Angelus Shimreingam (SATT), the editor of ‘Thotchan’ said, it took the history committee a long time to compile the history, from word of mouth to the living account. He shared that despite differences and conflict he was happy that through the intercession of Holy Spirit, there was a consensus and they could compile the history fair and square.

It must be noted that the Catholic Church among Tangkhul community began at Hungpung after about fifty years of the arrival of Baptist Christianity. And practically Baptist faith had spread every nook and corner of Tangkhul land. In fact, the first Catholic members at Hungpung were also once Baptists. No wonder the Population of Catholics in Tangkhul land is miniscule compared to Baptist Christians.

Christianity in Tangkhul land began its journey with rejection and persecution at first by pagans and then by the majority Christians to the minority and late Christian arrivals such as Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist and Church of Christ.


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