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The First Catholic Missionary of Chotanagpur
Fr. Augustus Stockman S.J. was sent in 1868 by Bishop Steins of Calcutta to explore the possibility of evangelization among the tribals. He journeyed from Midnapur on rickety bullock-cart and on the tenth day arrived Chaibasa in Singhbhum district. After three year’s stay and hard work six poor Munda families from Kuntpani in the Ho land, asked him for baptism. Unable to settle them among the Hos, he brought them to Tutuyu and settled them here near Kochang village which he named Burudih.
The fire of the Catholic faith which had been ignited in Burudih Kochang would soon spread to Bandgaon, Sarwada and Dolda. By 1885, when Fr. Constant Lievens S.J. the “Apostle of Chotanagpur” came, the Catholics numbered 2000. With the arrival of Fr. Lievens, the missionary approach and methodology changed. He settled in Torpa and began to help the tribals in court cases to regain possession of their land away snatched by rapacious landlords. He preached the Gospels by his word and deed. This brought spectacular success as well as painful trial. The Mundas flocked to Torpa and gradually many mission stations were established in present Khunti and Ranchi diocese.