Udupi district in Karnataka will now a have a Catholic diocese of its own.
The announcement for the new diocese was simultaneously made by the Nunciature at New Delhi, Milagres parish, Kallianpur, Udupi and Bishop's House in Mangalore, on July 16.
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Rev Dr Jerald Isaac Lobo as the first bishop of the newly formed diocese.
Rev Lobo, who also was the first bishop of Shimoga, hails from Agrar in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada.
Located about 60 km from Mangalore, the diocese of Udupi will include the three civil districts of Udupi, Kunapura and Karkala.
Some 46 parishes, more than one lakh Catholics, 58 diocesan priests, 28 religious priests, and 225 religious come under the newly erected diocese.
The Church of Our Lady of Miracles (Kallianpur) has been designated as the Cathedral Church of the diocese.
Mangalore diocesan chancellor Fr Henry Sequeira said the new bishop will have to take charge of the Udupi diocese within next two months.
Members of the Udupi region were till this time served by the Diocese of Mangalore which supposedly has a history of more than five centuries. It has been serving the faithful spread in over 160 parishes in Udupi, Kasargod, and Mangalore.
"The diocese of Mangalore has a large number of parishes and there was a feeling among the faithful in the parishes that they were not getting personal and individual pastoral care," said the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI).
According to a CBCI release, the demand for separate Udupi diocese became stronger when the Udupi revenue district was formed about a decade ago.
Udupi is a popular pilgrimage centre and tourist spot, and is situated on the coastal belt.
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