By Felix Anthony

Ziro, May 8 : Itanagar diocese in Arunachal Pradesh ordained its first Catholic Priest of indigenous origin at Mary Immaculate Church, Hapoli, Ziro on 7 May 2022.

Father Roshan Bamin Peter, belonging to the Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, was ordained priest by his Bishop John Thomas at his home parish at Hapoli in Lower Subansiri district in the presence of emeritus Bishop of Daltanganj, Gabriel Kujur, large gathering of priests, women religious and friends and relatives from across the diocese.

“It is a proud moment for all of us in the diocese especially to the people of Apatani tribe”, said Nani Yase Teresa, the president of Apatani Catholic Women Association of Itanagar diocese. ‘It will inspire many young people of all tribes to become priests and nuns”.

Father Peter, the fourth of the six children of (Late) James Bamin Tabin and Monica Bamin Yabii, joined Itanagar diocese’s St. Patrick Minor Seminary, Naharlagun, after completing his schooling and completed his philosophy in Salesian College, Dimapur and Theology in St. Joseph’s Seminary, Mangalore.

Many expressed their joy over the ordination of the first Apatani tribal priest. It is good to have a priestly ordination on the eve of the Vocation Sunday, said Taw Tebin, the President of Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association. “It augurs well for the young church in Arunachal Pradesh and particularly for Itanagar diocese”, he said.

The Apatani are a special tribal group living in the Ziro Valley in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. Unlike the other tribes, they are non-nomadic. They practice permanent wetland cultivation in hilly terrain by slicing the hills. According to the 2011 census Arunachal has 43,777 Apatanis.

“It is a historic moment for the Catholic Church in Arunachal Pradesh. We pray for Father Roshan to help him spread the message of love, peace and kindness of the Lord to every corner of the world”, said Yamlam Kaha, a church leader from Itanagar.

Father Peter now becomes the second tribal priest from Arunachal Pradesh. Father Francis Belo from Galo tribe was ordained for the congregation of Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales in 2008.

Incidentally, today Bishop Georg Pallipparambil also ordained Father Pramod Godselwar from Chandrapur, Maharastra for Miao Diocese in east Arunachal Pradesh.


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