The history of Radhanpur mission is something unique. When India and Pakistan became independent, the tribe called “Majiranas” left Pakistan for India. One group of the Majiranas, who reached India, were settled by the then Indian Government in Deesa and Radhanpur talukas of North Gujarat. They were given uncultivable lands – stretches of unwanted sand dunes – to be their home. Many of these refugees were Catholics, baptised by Dutch Franciscan Missionaries in Nawabshah (now Sind-Pakistan). They searched in vain for a Catholic Church. The nearest one at that time was at Ahmedabad, over 150 kms away. For 30 years this small flock survived on prayer, led by their leader, catechist Joseph. In 1971, a chance meeting between a Railway Officer Mr. William Roxburgh and Josephbhai, led to the discovery of this lost Catholic community. Fr. Diaz Garriz, SJ from Kalol made the initial contacts which led to the establishment of Deesa Mission and then the Radhanpur mission. Fr. Thomas Kolady and Fr. Felix Gonsalves were appointed to Deesa which included the villages around Radhanpur. The mission at Radhanpur was taken up in full earnest when Fr. Felix Gonsalves was appointed the first Parish Priest of Catholic Ashram, Radhanpur, in June 1986. Around the same time, the Daughters of the Cross joined the Mission and started their community in Radhanpur.
The Parish began a boarding for boys and the Sisters for the girls. The children initially attended other primary schools in Radhanpur town. St. Xavier’s Primary School from Std. 5 to 7 was started in 1995. It was a joint venture with the Convent providing the building and a Sister to be on the teaching staff; whereas the Parish accepted the management, maintenance and day-to-day running of the school. In June 2000 Fr. Antony Moonnupeedikail took over as PP for two years. Then in July 2002 Fr. Prasad Gonsalves began std. 1-4 in June 2003. His dream was to make St. Xavier’s a full-fledged school from Std. I to Std. X. The high school section was begun in 2004 and Fr. Joseph Arockiam was its first Principal.
Radhanpur mission has every potential to mushroom into a vibrant mission. The mission was born as an ‘exodus’ community and has learnt to survive and will survive opposition and persecution. There are 100 members in the community.
P.B. No. 14, Bhabhar Tran Rasta
Radhanpur 385340, Patan Dist
Parish Priest: Fr. Robert Mascarenhas SJ
Community: Fr. John Kappamootil SJ (Principal)
Monthly Mass: 6 villages
St. Xavier’s High School