Former Bishops and Archbishops
Bishop Alexis Riccaz Bishop Alexis Riccaz: (1887 to 1892) On 26th of July 1887, a 'bull' issued in Rome separated the Diocese of Nagpur from Visakhapatnam and appointed Msrg. Alexis Riccaz as its First Bishop. There were 14 priests, 13 brothers and 51 nuns from three congregation viz. C.S.S.J. 34, S.C.C. 13, and SMMI 4. On 8th September 1892 the Lourd Mata Grotto was by the bishop. In the same year he passed away worn out by sickness.
Bishop Charles Pelvat Bishop Charles Felix Pelvat: (1893 to 1900) S.F.S. school principal from 1875 to 1893. The opening of the Ghorargaon mission the establishment of the St. Charles Seminary on Seminary Hills, from 1896 onward, as well as the help given to the famine ridden and cholera stricken orphans. Unfortunately he also fell a victim to the cholera scourge, on 23rd July 1900 at the age of 55.
Bishop John Marie Crochet Bishop John Mary Crochet: (1900 to 1903) The opening of the St. Charles Seminary and acquiring a Printing Press were important events during his administration. He took great pleasure in teaching and was a charming and a fatherly prelate. He died suddenly in Jabalpur.
Bishop Stephen Bonaventure Bishop Stephen Bonaventure: (1903 to 1907) He was an educationist and had been Principal of the schools at Vishakhapatnam, Nagpur and Jabulpur. Unfortunately he had heart trouble and while in France for treatment he passed away on 17th March 1907.Fr. Foulex at Nagpur completed the two steeples of the Church and installed the Church clock. A good part of the Archbishop's House was also completed during this period.
Bishop Francis Coppel Rt. Rev. Francis Stephen Coppel: (1907 to 1933) A long Silver Innings. He was the S.F.S. Principal from 1894 to 1907. During his 25 years many significant events took place. He lived a simple life and moved around either on foot or on his bicycle. St. Charles closed down in 1915 and reopened in 1920. War days! Again closed in 1922. The annual procession in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes was started and in 1932, Jabalpur region was separated to form a new diocese under the Norbertines Fathers from Holland.
Bishop Louis Gayet Rt. Rev. Louis Gayet: (1934 to 1950) Consecrated on 24th June 1934. He created new parishes at Ajni, Ballarshah and established missions at Saraipalli, Jaitalaans Gorewara. In July 1935 St. Charles Seminary was reopened by him with Fr. Damian Fernandes as Rector. Bishop Eugene D'Souza of Nagpur and Bishop Rosario of Amravati were among the Seminarians at this time. The Bishop was suffering from cancer but he worked tirelessly. While visiting his native land in 1950, 47 years after he had left it , Bishop Gayet passed away as a result of a serious illness. Fr. George D'Souza was the first Indian Parish Priest of the Cathedral Parish. The Church compound got a Grotto and the Cathedral also got 4 marble side alters as well as the huge stained glass panel of St. Francis de Sales in the sanctuary.
Archbishop Eugene D Souza Bishop Eugene D'Souza: (1951 to 1953 Bishop of Nagpur) (1953 to 1964 Archbishop of Nagpur. At the age of 34 he became the first Indian Bishop and later Archbishop of Nagpur. The then Papal Internuncio, the Most Rev. Leo Kierkels consecrated him on 3rdoct. 1951. He was totally Nagpur born and bred and educated son of the soil. Nagpur will remember him as a dynamic and youthful leader endowed with faith, hope, trust and an almost prophetic insight to read and challenge the signs of the times. He became Archbishop in 1953 and our beloved Diocese became an Archdiocese. In March 1964 he was thought to be the best person to lead the new Archdiocese of Bhopal and so Nagpur lost one of her great Sons to the Capital of Madhya Pradesh.
Archbishop Leonard Raymond Archbishop Leonard Raymond: (1964 to 1974) A towering intellectual genius, a Doctor of Divinity and a Doctor of Canon Law. From 1947 -1964 he was in Allahabad as Bishop. He was appointed to Nagpur as Archbishop in March 1964. He had come to Nagpur, as he said in his first public address, “at the age of 65, in the evening of my life.” However age did not deter him from the burden he had shouldered. He was nationally and internationally famous for his talks, lectures and discourses on almost any topic. His Grace travelled far and wide but at great cost to his failing health. A hip joint bone flared up in 1974 and he passed away on 1st Feb. of that year.
Archbishop Leobard D Souza Archbishop Leobard D'Souza: (1975 to 1998) Msgr. Francis D'Souza was elected Vicar Capitular and administered the archdiocese until the appointment of the Archbishop Leobard D'Souza from Jabalpur. To His Grace the Archdiocese owes a debt of gratitude for many things. The Theme 'Apostolate of the neighbourhood – or mohalla” came into vogue. Sisters of various congregations were invited to manage existing schools and several other congregations to work in the Archdiocese. His Grace suffered serious setbacks, mainly the loss of vision and some chronic complaints. He preferred to step down. He passed away on19th December 2005.