History

ARCHDIOCESE OF KARACHI

It is believed that two of the Apostles, St. Thomas and SL Bartholomew, passed through the territory of the present Archdiocese on their way to India.

At the end of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century Augustinian Missionaries evangelized Sind. On account of persecution they had to leave and were succeeded by the Discalced Carmelites who remained up to the year 1672 with their headquarters in Thatta. After the conquest of Sind by the British in 1842-43, the Carmelites returned to the territory, at first only as chaplains to the troops. They remained till 1852, when the Capuchin Fathers took charge. In 1856, the Jesuit Fathers took over; first German, then Italian, American and lastly Spanish Jesuits (from 1922 – 1935). Up to this time the Mission was an ecclesiastical district of the Archdiocese of Bombay.

Increased British military involvement in India brought in large numbers of Irish Catholic soldiers. They required chaplains. The logical solution would have been to provide the soldiers with Irish priests. But the East India Company and the British government were against this because they felt that the graduates of Irish seminaries were anti-British and saw possible political disaffection among the troops. So they provided only Italian Carmelite and Goan secular chaplains for the Catholic troops. The soldiers complained that the chaplain’s command of English was inadequate for carrying out of their duties.

In 1859 Rome split the Bombay Mission into two vicariates. The Carmelites were all moved to the south. The Jesuits were invited to take control of what was left of the old Bombay Mission. This explains why, after 1860, all the priests assigned to Sind and Baluchistan were Jesuits. They were to retain control of this section of the Bombay Mission until the 1930s.

Due to World War I, The Alien Missionaries and Teachers Ordinance, 1917 of the Government of the Straits Settlements was promulgated. This was thought to be a good piece of legislation so in 1919 it was extended to almost all British colonial and protected territories. The ordinance required that any non-British subject who wished to engage in missionary or educational work in a British territory must first obtain a licence to do so from the competent authority in that territory. The motive in 1919 was not directly anti-German. It was aimed rather at the control of mission schools. By 1920, it was clear to the Church that, with this legislation, there was little hope for the return of the German missionaries. During the war the American Jesuits replaced the Germans but were now anxious to leave. The church was forced thus to transfer the missions in Karachi to the responsibility of the Spanish Jesuits.

On the 1 June 1934 Sind was separated from the Archdiocese of Bombay and made into a “Missio Independs” and was entrusted to the Franciscan Fathers of the Dutch Province who took over officially on the 22 June 1935. It then comprised the old civil divisions of Sind, Baluchistan and Khairpur State.

Politically, Sind had been part of the Bombay Presidency after conquest by the British in 1843. However on 1 April 1936, Sind Division was separated from the Bombay Presidency and made into a province of British India.

On the 20 May 1948 it was erected into a Diocese and two years later, on the 15 July 1950 it was raised to the status of an Archdiocese. On the 28 April 1958 the Archdiocese of Karachi was divided into the present Archdiocese of Karachi which comprises the Karachi Area, the civil districts of Thatta (on the right side of the Indus River), Dadu, Larkana, the Division of Kalat, except the districts of Sarawan and Kech and the Diocese of Hyderabad.

The Archdiocese of Karachi was handed over to the diocesan clergy and the diocese of Hyderabad was entrusted to the Franciscan Fathers of the Dutch Province.

Since the Parish has been administered by different Orders over different periods of time, detailed records can only be found in the mother houses of each Order namely Belgium, Spain, Holland, Germany. USA, Britain, India, Rome.

ARCHDIOCESE OF KARACHI

Area (Sq. K.M)180,000
Population21,000,000
Catholics200,000
Diocesan Priests33
Religious Priests23
Religious Brothers00
Professed Religious Sisters119
Parishes16
Educational Institutions101

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