SONAPAHAR (1972) C-2005
Patron : Christ The King
Diocese : Nongstoin
(Attached presence : Shallang)
Sonapahar, Via Nongstoin – 793 119
Fr. Koottala Augustine Rector & PP 9863603351/9436111957
Fr. Tham Raphael APP, Cs 7308907789
SCJ – Christ the King Convent
Located in the West Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, Sonapahar is 145 kms. away from Shillong and falls under the Diocese of Nongstoin. The catholic population is about 9,500 in 1,200 families spread over 84 villages. The parish is entrusted permanently to the Salesians as per the agreement signed between the then Archbishop Hubert D’Rosario and the Salesian Provincial, Fr. Mathai Kochuparambil, on 19th March 1982.
The earliest attempts to contact the villages and establish Christian communities in the area was done by priests from Marbisu and Nongpoh parishes like Fr. Matta, Fr. Mawrieh, Fr. Attard, Fr. John Mariae, Fr. Chittoor (both diocesan priests), Fr. Balawan, Fr. Emmanuel Albizuri, etc. Fr. Albizzuri, a dynamic pioneer, toured this region while he was the assistant parish priest of Nongstoin. He tried to establish the mission at Dorangrey; but due to the non-collaboration of the local people, he shifted it to Riangdo, the present mission centre.
Sonapahar was established as a parish in 1972 and Fr. Albizzuri appointed as the first parish priest. He remained alone in the mission and was the person responsible for the establishment and development of the parish and the growth of the church in the region. He died in a tragic jeep accident on 30th September 1982 while on his way back to the mission from Shillong.
At the moment, there is a high school, a proceeding high school, 2 M.E. Schools, and 51 L.P. Schools run by the parish. There are three boardings (one for the boys and 2 for the girls). The SCJ’s and the MSMHC’s have their own convents and look after the girls’ boardings.