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Centenary Celebration – Byndihati, Jaintia Hills Region
Shillong 13 January 2022: The Salesians of Don Bosco (SDBs) of Jaintia Hills Region celebrated...
The Holy Family Parish of Khliehriat was carved out of the then Jowai Parish in 1976. Prior to the creation of the new Parish, Fr. Cajetan Guidotto, Fr. Joseph Fantin and others while in Jowai Parish had toured the villages and baptized number of families in Khliehriat area. In 1976, when the new Parish of Khliehriat was created, Fr. Joseph Fantin was appointed as its first Parish Priest, his brother Fr. Henry Fantin was appointed headmaster of Khliehriat School, and Fr. John Khonglah the Assistant priest. In 2003, the Salesian community at Khliehriat received canonical recognition.
At the start of the Parish, it had an area of over 5000 sq kms with a total population of over 1,00,000 in 150 villages. The Pnars (Jaintias) form the local ethnic group. As the small town became the coal-centre of the region, the population became a real mixture of all groups of people seeking work in the coal mines of the region.
During the years 1990-95, Fr. Sylvanus Sngi from Sacred Heart Theological College actively engaged himself in the evangelization work on weekends in Khliehriat/Lad Rymbai area. Thanks to Fr. Sngi and other missionaries, priests, sisters and lay catechists, the Catholic population grew in the region and resulted in the creation of number of new Parishes. The new Parishes born of Holy Family Khliehriat are the Holy Trinity Parish, Sutnga (1997), the Good Shepherd Parish, Lad Rymbai (2002), the Holy Cross Parish, Umkiang (2006) and the Visitation Parish, Lum Shnong (2009). The OFM Cap began the ministry of Prayer Centre at Mendihati in 2009.
With the creation of the above new Parishes out of Khliehriat, the area and the Catholic population of the Holy Family Parish got reduced considerably. As per the statistics of 2008, prior to the creation of Lum Shnong Parish, the total Catholic population of the Parish was 5580, distributed in 14 villages. The number of Catholic families number 876. There were 12 villages in the Parish area without any Catholic family. Some of the missionaries who had worked in Khliehriat and gone to their eternal reward are Fr. Khonglah John, Fr. Henry Fantin, Fr. Sanglura Alexis and Fr. Lyngkhoi Justin. The Parish remembers with gratitude the services of Fr. Joseph Fantin, Fr. Malngiang Alphonse, Fr. Koottala Augustine, Fr. Kanattu Abraham, Fr. Edasserithottathil Augustine and Fr. Puliparambil Thomas.