Catholics in Pakistan

The Apostolic Vicariate of Quetta

The Apostolic Vicariate of Quetta (Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Quettensis), originally the Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta, is an apostolic vicariate in Pakistan. It comprises the civil province of Balochistan and the Kachhi region of Punjab, Pakistan.

Holy Rosary Cathedral, Quetta

The areas was originally under the jurisdiction of the “Vicariate of the Great Mogul” which was established in 1697. In 1832, the Vicariate formed a part of the Archdiocese of Bombay and in 1878 it passed to the mission of Afghanistan, which had been entrusted to the Mill Hill missionaries. Quetta, in the years to follow would be visited by Jesuits (who left in 1935) and then Franciscans (until 1982). In 1982, the pastoral care of the local community was entrusted to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), later reinforced by Salesians.

Around 1990 the Catholics of Baluchistan had already started asking for a separate diocese. The Prefecture was established on November 9, 2001 from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hyderabad and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Karachi. The first Prefect Apostolic has been Fr. Victor Gnanapragasam of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Father Victor was installed in a ceremony presided by Archbishop Alessandro D’Errico, apostolic nuncio to Pakistan, at St. Joseph’s Convent School in Quetta. At that time the prefecture had eight priests and 12 Religious serving about 27,000 Catholics.

The main church is the Holy Rosary Church, Quetta. There were seven Catholic schools in the Prefecture in 1998, all under the Baluchistan Catholic Board of Education.

On January 1, 2021, Pope Francis named Father Khalid Rehmat as the new vicar apostolic of Quetta. He is the first Pakistani Capuchin priest to be named bishop. He was consecrated bishop at St Francis Grammar School in Quetta on 25 March 2021. Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan, was the main consecrator, with the co-consecrators Cardinal Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, and Archbishop Joseph Arshad of Islamabad-Rawalpindi.

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