Presentation by Arch. Joji Marampudi Archbishop of Hyderabad

PIME Regional House, Eluru - 534 007, A.P., India
I am grateful to my confreres: Fr. Piero Gheddo, for directing the work; to the late Fr. Angelo Bubani and Fr. Mauro Mezzadonna for supplying documents from the PIME Archives in Rome; to Fr. Andrea Mies for searching books, to Fr. James Fannan, for polishing my English language.
I am also grateful to Mr. Ladislaus D'Souza for editing the text.


Among the many places where PIME (Pontifical Institute far Foreign Missions) worked in Asia, the mission in India is the one that best of all represents the continuity of its work. Far 150 years, about 150 missionaries have worked far the plantation of the Church in the Telugu region and now Telugu missionaries are going abroad to witness the Gospel of Jesus in other countries.
PIME is an institute of diocesan priests. Their purpose is to plant the Church and develop the dioceses. So when a diocese is ready they leave everything and start somewhere else. The Church in Andhra is having at present twelve diocese: Six have come out of the territories entrusted to PIME: Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Warangal, Eluru, Nalgonda and Khammam.
The readers will be able to discover the burning faith that was behind those men who left their country and came to die in a far away land. They were not without defects.
We can learn from their mistakes and change our methods.
But their faith should remain our guiding light.

Fr. Carlo Torriani
Born in Italy, 1935
Ordained Priest, 1960
First Secretary of MANI TESE, Freedom from Hunger Campaign Movement of Italy
Came to India, 1969
Master of Theology, JDV, Pune, 1970
Master of Social Work, TISS, Mumbai, 1972
Founder of Lok Seva Sangarn, 1976
Indian Citizen, 1981
Founder of Swarga Dwar, 1983









Two PIME missionaries at Hyderabad:
5th June 1855
Christianity in India
The cradle of Christianity
Padroado and Propaganda
Carnatic Mission
The first Telugu Christians
The decline
The missionary renaissance
The first Bishop in Hyderabad:
Daniel Murphy (1845-1869)

"The hospitality was very cordial"
"Your missionaries are a blessing"
Which language to study?
Two parts: Nizam and British Territories
European Brahmin
New Missionaries: Bigi and Caprotti
The Bishop is worried
The tidal wave
Why Murphy left?
Domenico Barbero:
first PIME bishop (1870-1881)

Pastoral visit
Bishop Pietro Caprotti goes out to the Telugu (1882-1897)
Turlapadu: providential events
The Koyas: the wrong time
Gospel on the railways
Expansion work
Vijayawada comes up
Efforts to get local clergy
Apostolic Delegation
A stern saint: Fr. Giambattista Ciccolungo
Raichur and Bhir: a West too far

Marathi District
Kannada District
Fr. OpiIio Negri, an intrepid missionary
Pietro Viganò: a holy and learned bishop (1897-1908)
Missionaries die young:
Fr. Luigi Cantaluppi

Diaries of Viganò: a mine of information
The ever present caste problem
A balance sheet
The long period of Bishop Dionigi Vismara (1909-1948)
The great conversion movement
Dalit Movement part of National Movement
The "Common Letter"
Fr. Silvio Pasquali: The Friend of the Dalits
Fr. Ugo Pezzoni: The Apostle of Krishna District
Fr. Pio Tentorio: cholera or poison?
Fr. Paolo Fontana: cholera: the big killer
The person of Vismara
A new diocese: Vijayawada. Bishop Domenico Grassi (1939-1951)
The spadework of the Catechists
Lazarus Sanyasi
Arava Davidu
Br. Joseph Thamby
Pastoral and Sodal Work
Lay Missionaries
Gunadala: An industrial school
A shrine for pilgrimage
A generous Jesuit: Fr. Pietro Caironi
Fr. Carlo Merlo: Dharmaraja
Fr. Deodato Desenzani:
Health care for the rural India
Fr. Vincenzo Pagano and the Godavari Delta
The PIME Sisters
Bishop Ambrogio De Battista(1951-1971)
A good organiser and administrator
An example for other dioceses
A vicar for all seasons: Angelo Bianchi
Fr. Giovanni Leoncini
Mario Fumagalli: the Father of handicapped children
The second partition of Hyderabad: Warangal Diocese
Bishop Alfonso Beretta (1951-1985)
Bro. Pasquale Sala
: the builder of Fatimanagar
First priority: the local clergy
Beretta: a man of great culture
The Golden Missionary Age
Fr. Augusto Colombo: the volcanic man
Medical Work
Main purpose: promotion of the Harijans
Nalgonda diocese: a fruit of PIME's work
The other evangelizers of Andhra
The return to Hyderabad









Fr. Umberto Colli.(1929-36) A Father to all
Fr. Cesare Mariani (1936-47)
A referral point in the war
Fr. Paolo Arlati (1953-65) A Guardian Angel for all
Fr. Carlo Radice (1965-69) It is necessary to come out of Andhra
Fr. Bruno Venturin (1969-73) A Superior out of place
A new opening in Mumbai
Fr. Angelo Biffi (I973-79) The man able to stand
Fr. Domenico Vivenzi (I 979-86) A push for internationalization

The long march of Internationalization
It started in America and Brazil
Leoncini starts in India
The recruitment in India was stopped
The Chapter of aggiornamento
The change at Tagaytay
Why so much delay?
Two seminaries: Eluru and Pune
Promising results
Fr. Benito Picascia (1986-94) The Founder of PIME in India
Fr. Augustine Palett (1994-2002) The first Indian Superior
Fr. Melchior Durgam Raja (2002 ) Deepening the roots in India













the first Italian missionary institute

Lombard Seminary for Foreign Missions
Missionaries who know how to govern themselves
Missionaries of San Calocero
Giacomo Scurati:
a good animator (1891-1901)

The Golden Jubilee
Filippo Roncari:
a Director form the diocese (1904-1908)

A moment of crisis
Pietro Viganò:
a Director from India (1909-1913)

Giuseppe Armanasco:
the first elected Director (1913-1924)

The rise of Fr. Paolo Manna
Paolo Manna:
the first Superior General (1924-1934)

Consolidation of the Institute in Italy
PIME: two roots, one Institute
The first visit to all the missions
The fruits of Manna's "Observations"
A prophetic vision
Regional Superiors in the missions
The PIME Sisters
The Clergy Missionary Union
The harsh years of Lorenzo Balconi, Superior General (1934-1947)
Diocesan versus Religious
Luigi Risso:
a gentle General Superior (1947-1957)

Augusto Lombardi:
the Superior who believed in India (1957-1964)

Vocations from India
Aristide Pirovano: a good manager as Superior (1965-1977)
Changing scenario in the missions
The preference for Asia
The search for new ways
"Inforpime": a tool for internal exchange
Two superiors from the far East
"Opening up to the value of internationality"
Two international seminaries
International at all levels






With profound sense of gratitude for all the blessings and the graces the church in Andhra Pradesh has received, I join the PIME missionaries in their celebration of the 150th year of the arrival of Fathers Dominic Barbero and Francesco Pozzi, the first batch of PIME missionaries to come to India and then to Andhra Pradesh in 1855. It is to be placed on record that PIME's presence in AP has been quite uninterrupted.
The History of PIME in Andhra Pradesh, written by Fr. Carlo Torriani, a PIME priest, pays tributes of praise to the "true heroes of the Church" who preached the gospel and built up Catholic communities in Andhra Pradesh. I do join him paying tribute of my own appreciation and admiration to all the PIME missionaries who worked and who are doing their apostolic ministry in Andhra Pradesh. Their tireless labours have resulted in the creation of one Archdiocese and seven dioceses. They also formed one Archbishop and three bishops from the local people whom they baptized. Indeed PIME's apostolic efforts have realized to a great extent the prophetic words of Pope Leo XIII. "Thy sons, Oh, India will be your own ministers" ,
I am privileged to have been baptized and formed by PIME missionaries. I have again the rare privilege of succeeding two PIME bishops in the diocese of Vijayawada and two PIME vicars apostolic and four PIME bishops in Hyderabad. Every mission history, like the Acts of the Apostles, teaches that it is the Holy Spirit who opens the hearts of the listeners to respond to proclamation of the Good News. Missionaries are the instruments in the hands of the Holy Spirit. They succeed to the extent they follow the promptings of the spirit. Fr Torriani's book is an illustration of the success of missionaries who lived a life of prayer, spirit of sacrifice and simple lifestyle.
I congratulate Fr Torriani for bringing out this History of PIME in Andhra Pradesh. I recommend it to all the missionaries and those who desire to be missionaries.
Once again I express my deep sense of gratitude to all the PIME missionaries who have worked and are working in Andhra Pradesh. I pray for the eternal rest of all the departed PIME missionaries who worked in Andhra Pradesh the land of their adoption.

+ M. Joji
Archbishop of Hyderabad

January 17, 2005


The purpose that I put to myself in writing this short history of the work of PIME missionaries in India, is to offer to the young Indian PIME members and seminarians a narration of how everything started, who had been the holy and courageous men and women who witnessed the love of Christ in this part of our country, so that they may be moved to continue this witnessing also in other parts of the world.
To have a full history of PIME in India on the line of the work done by Fr. Giovanni Leoncini for the diocese of Vijayawada, much more time and research is needed. He started collecting material while he was editor of In Vinculo Christi for more than thirty years. I never had a chance like this. If an Italian edition of this book is required, without the compulsory short term date of the 150 Years Celebration, then a deeper study can be done and a more voluminous book can be produced.
It is my sincere and deep desire that the young Indian members, and the readers in general, will be able to discover the burning faith that was behind these men who left their country and came to die in a far a way land. They were not without defects, may be they made mistakes. Faith does not cancel our defects and does not prevent us from making mistakes. Their methods and language may be outdated. We can learn from their mistakes and change our methods. But their faith should remain our guiding light.
Things have change a lot in 150 years, but still the invitation of Jesus: "Go! You will be my witnesses till the end of the world" is the only moving force behind the missionary movement.
Jesus told also his disciples: "do not take money with you". For at least half of the 150 years under consideration, this was the stark reality for the missionaries: they were leaving Italy in poverty and they were living in India in poverty. Things now may be changed. Foreign missionaries, in the latest decades, can dispose of lot of money coming from Christian western countries. Priests and missionaries can be lured by this gilt.
Money, said Jesus, is something "tainted", that is ambivalent. It can be a sign of the sharing requested by the Christian faith, or it can be the instrument for buying every thing you want, including souls. The missionaries Church is economically depending from the West. Christian families want to have some of their children in the religious life because, they know, they will be better off. We can't deny that these chances are there, that temptations are real, that in this situation it is more difficult to show the purity of Christian witnessing.
Indians have always had great esteem for the sanyasi (those who renounce world and wealth). Are Christian Indian missionaries seen as sanyasi? Buddhism had gone all over the East on the steps of itinerant monks. Christianity, often spread all over the world on the ships of colonialists. When shall we see a new kind of Indian non-violent Christian missionary sanyasi? That will be possible only going back to that simple faith that brought Fr. Barbero and Fr. Pozzi from Milan to Hyderabad on that May 1855.

This is our wish and our prayer.

Fr. Carlo Torriani, PIME
Swarga Dwar, February
5, 2005


Among the many places where PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) worked in Asia, the mission in India is the one that best of all represents the continuity of its work. For 150 years, about 150 missionaries have worked for the plantation of the Church in the Telugu region and now Telugu missionaries are going abroad to witness the Gospel of Jesus in other countries. For a hundred years, PIME sent its personnel only to Asia: in Melanesia, Borneo, China, Hong Kong, Myanmar and India. But the work in China was stopped by the communist revolution, in Myanmar it was suffocated by socialist governments till the extinction of the last foreign missionary; only in India the work could continue up to the present time and produce a good harvest. At present, about three dozen PIME Indian missionaries are working in different countries.
PIME was started in Italy in 1850 to give a chance to diocesan priests and laymen to dedicate their life for the evangelization of non-Christians. PIME is now juridically an "institute of apostolic life". Its first mission was in Melanesia (Oceania). Seven missionaries were sent there in 1852. But this first mission was a failure. The first lay missionary, Giuseppe Corti, died of "fever" 18 months after his arrival, Fr. Giovanni Mazzucconi was killed by the local people, the others had to withdraw to Sydney and wait for new orders. That was a real crisis for the recently born institute and for the Roman authorities. A rethinking was necessary. The new start carne with the mission to India in 1855. Two went to Hyderabad in the centre of India and four to the west in' Bengal. One year later, in 1856, another six reached Agra. That was just one year before turmoil shook the subcontinent. The British called it "the Mutiny", the Indians called it "the first war for independence". The local soldiers at the service of The East India Company revolted against the British officers and Europeans in general. Agra was one of the epicentres of the revolt. So, that mission had a very short span of life. In Bengal, instead, it had a good success. The original mission was stretching from Krishnagar to Dinajpur, from Jalpaiguri to Shillong. In the course of time parts of it were given to other congregations. After partition, part remained in India and part in East Pakistan (Bangladesh). The two dioceses that remained in India, Malda (now Dumka) and Jalpaiguri, very soon were left in the hands of local clergy.
The scope of this book is limited to look in to the development of the mission in central India that started in Hyderabad.
It should be clear from the beginning why, when PIME missionaries leave a mission into the hands of local clergy, they leave everything and disappear from that territory. PIME is an institute made of diocesan priests and brothers. Their purpose is to plant the church and develop the dioceses. So when a diocese is ready, they leave everything and start somewhere else. This is their charisma and their limit. Other religious congregations, with their convents, parishes, schools and hospitals may give more stability to their missions; PIME gives more freedom to the incoming bishop and more support to the local church. From the territory entrusted to them in the middle of 19th century, eight dioceses emerged: Hyderabad, Bellary, Vijayawada, Warangal, Khammam, Nalgonda, Eluru and Aurangabad.


In the text the quotations are made in brackets with the surname of the author, the year of publication and the page.

AA 1931, Mass Conversions in the Kistna District, British India, Bezwada 1937 (according to Leoncini, (1988, p.126, n.139) the authors may be Domenico Grassi or Dionigi Vismara) .
AA 1938, Bezwada, Golden Jubilee Souvenir, 1888-1938
AA 1980, Padre Mario Dall'Agnol, Venezia
AA 1994, Il Signore è la Mia Porzione, (Profilo di Padre Paolo Arlati), Arlati Luigi, Merate
AA 1998, A Tribute to the Former Prelates, Vijayawada 1998
AA 1999, One-Man Army: Fr. John Leoncini, A Jubilee Note, Diocese of Vijayawada, Andhra
AA 2003, Warangal Diocese, 50 Golden Years, 1953 - 2003, Warangal AGPIME, Archivio Generale PIME, via Guerrazzi 11, Roma Amaladoss Michael, SJ, 2004, The Mission Institutes in the New Millennium, SEDOS Bulletin, 2004, 205
AME, Archivio Missioni Estere, Documenti dei primi cinquantanni del Seminario Lombardo, 1850-1900, via Guerrazzi 11, Roma.
AR, Annual Returns, Diocese of Vijayawada
AS, St. Ambrose Seminary, Nuzvid, Archives
Anchukandam Thomas, 1996, Catholic Revival in India in the 19th Century Role of Mgr. Clément Bonnand (1796-1861), Kristu Jyoti Publications, Bangalore
Balconi Lorenzo, 1956, Le Missionarie dell'Immacolata, in « Sicut Lilium Inter Spinas » Anno I, N.I, Gennaio 1956, p.2
Bassan Alfonso, 1987, Mons.Pietro Viganò, 1858-1922 in« Il Vincolo» n.153 aprile-giugno 1987, p.92-96; n. 154, p. 141-144.
Brambilla Gerardo, - 1926, Mons. Giuseppe Marinoni e l'Istituto delle Missioni Estere, PIME, Milano
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Bubani Angelo, 2004, Circolari e Lettere Collettive, Ufficio Storico PIME,Roma
Caminada Costantino, 1969, Padre Angelino (Mgr. Angelo Bianchi), PIME, Milano
Cantaluppi Luigi, 1973, Lettere dall'India, Como
Cognoli Virginio, 2003, Il Drammatico e Splendido 1853, Ufficio Storico PIME, Roma
Colli Umberto, 1939, P. Opilio Negri, PIME, Milano
Colombo Domenico, 2000, PIME, 1850-2000, Documenti di Fondazione, EMI, Bologna
Costitutioni, 1978, Costituzioni e Direttorio Generale, PIME
1991, Costituzioni e Direttorio Generale, PIME
DC, 1972, Documenti Capitolari, PIME, 1972, Roma
1989, Documenti Capitolari, PIME, 1989, Tagaytay
1995, Documenti Capitolari, PIME, 1995, Ariccia
2001, Documenti Capitolari, PIME, 2001, Grottaferrata
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IV, IL VINCOLO, Internal Bulletin of PIME, since 1929
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Kroot A., 1910, History of Telugu Christians, Trichinopoly
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Manna Paolo, - 1920, La Conversione del Mondo Infedele, Milano.
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MdP, Missionari del PIME, Periodical Bulletin, quoted by year, month and page
MC, Le Missioni Cattoliche, Periodical Magazine of PIME, quoted by year, (month), and page.
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