Vatican City (Fides Service) - The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI on 5 July 2005 established the diocese of Sindhudurg (India), with territory taken from the diocese of Poona, making it suffragan of the Metropolitan See of Bombay. The Holy Father appointed first Bishop of Sindhudurg, Rev. Anthony Alwyn Fernandes Barreto, a member of the clergy of Poona and until now parish priest at Vengurla.
The new diocese Sindhudurg (Sindhudurgien/sis/ in Latin), covers two civil districts Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri, and Talukas of Ajra and Gadhinglaj in the District of Kolhapur (except for St. Francis Xavier parish at Kolhapur). It borders to the north with the archdiocese of Bombay; to the south and south east with the archdiocese of Goa and the diocese of Belgaum; to the east with the diocese of Poona; to the west with the Arabian Sea.
(before division) POONA
(after division) SINDHUDURG
area 70,777 sq km 49,687 sq km 21,090 sq km
population 29,671.589 24,305,883 5,365,706
Catholics 94,028 64,234 29,794
Parishes 43 26 17
Priests Diocesan 80 61 19
Priests Religious 26 14 12
Brothers 2 2 --
Sisters 527 419 108
The parish church at Sawantwadi, dedicated to Our Lady of Miracles will serve as the cathedral for the new diocese of Sindhudurg.
The frist Bishop of Sindhudurg
Rev. Anthony Alwyn Fernandes Barreto was born on 22 December 1952 in the archdioces of Goa-Daman. He went to school in Goa and then went to Papal St. Charles Seminary at Nagpur for philosophy and Papal Seminary Pune for theology. He was ordained a priest on 13 October1979 for the diocese of Poona. Since then he has ministered as follows: assistant priest at St. Francis Xavier Church, Ajgaon (1980-1984); parish priest at Milagres Church, Gauthan (1984-1986); assistant priest Our Lady of Rosari Church, Malwan (1986-1989); parish priest at Ajgaon and in charge of Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Kindla (1989-1993); parish priest, Holy Family Church, Mangaon (1993); parish priest, Immaculate Conception Church, Vengurla; dean of the districts of Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and sub-districts Ajra and Gadhinglaj Talukas (1997); parish priest, Milagres Church, Sawantwadi (1998); parish priest, Immaculate Concepcion Church, Vengurla (Sindhudurg district) (2003). (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 5/7/2005; Righe 66; Parole 366)