ASIA/PAKISTAN – Apostolic Vicariate of Quetta erected and first Apostolic Vicar appointedfides.org: 13:50 30-04-2010
ASIA/PAKISTAN – Apostolic Vicariate of Quetta erected and first Apostolic Vicar appointed
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – Pope Benedict XVI, on April 29, 2010, raised the Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta (Pakistan) to the rank of Apostolic Vicariate, with the same name and territorial configuration. The Holy Father has appointed as first Apostolic Vicar of Quetta (Pakistan), Fr. Victor Gnanapragasam, OMI, the current Apostolic Prefect of the same ecclesiastical district, assigning him the titular see of Timida.
Fr. Victor Gnanapragasam, OMI, was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, on November 21, 1940. After primary and secondary school, he carried out his novitiate with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Kaluthara (1959), then completing the studies of philosophy and theology at Our Lady of Sri Lanka Seminary in Kandy (1960-1966). He took his perpetual vows on May 31, 1963 and was ordained a priest on December 21, 1966. Following his ordination, he held the following positions in Sri Lanka and Pakistan: 1967-1969: assistant priest at Trincomalleee; 1969-1973: member of a preaching group in Jaffna, 1974-1977: parochial vicar in Gojra, Diocese of Faisalabad, 1976: a short training course in Youth Ministry in Manila, Philippines, 1977-1979: Superior of the OMI Delegation in Pakistan, 1977-1978: priest in Toba Tek Singh, Diocese of Faisalabad; 1978-1980: Parochial Vicar at Khanewal, Diocese of Multan, 1979-1985: Superior of OMI Delegation in Pakistan, 1980-1982: Parochial Vicar in Gojra, Diocese of Faisalabad, 1982-1986: priest in Toba Tek Singh, Diocese of Faisalabad, 1987-1989: studies in Psychology and Spirituality at St. Anselm Institute in Kent, England and then later courses in Spirituality at the Angelicum, Rome, 1989-1992: Parochial Vicar in Gojra, Diocese of Faisalabad 1992-1993: Assistant in the formation house of the Oblates in Karachi, 1991-1997: First Counselor of the OMI Delegation in Pakistan, 1997-2001: Superior of the OMI Delegation, with residence at the House of Formation in Multan. On November 9, 2001, he was appointed the first Apostolic Prefect of Quetta.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta, Pakistan, was erected November 9, 2001, with territory detached from the Diocese of Hyderabad. It was entrusted to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, with Fr. Victor Gnanapragasam, OMI, as the first Apostolic Prefect. The circumscription comprises the whole province of Balochistan, which is about 44% of the entire territory of Pakistan. It covers an area equal to 347,188 sq. km., with a population of 8,096,251 inhabitants. Catholics number 29,355 (0.36%), distributed in seven parishes, served by 13 priests, including 12 male religious (10 Oblates and 2 Salesians). The new vicar also has the collaboration of 26 catechists and 5 female religious communities, with a total of 19 religious, all of them Pakistani. There are 14 educational institutions and 19 charities. There are 7 major seminarians. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 30/04/2010)