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.
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.
In 2008, the Prefecture was subdivided into six parishes and serving nearly 30,000 Catholics. In Quetta there are 5 congregations of religious sisters (20 sisters) and 10 priests, including OMIs and Salesians.
On 29 April 2010 Pope Benedict XVI elevated the apostolic prefecture of Quetta to the rank of apostolic vicariate. He appointed Fr. Victor Gnanapragasam as apostolic vicar of the new ecclesiastical circumscription and the titular bishop of Timida. On 21 April 2012, the first ordination of a Catholic priest in Baluchistan took place in St. Pius X Parish Church, Samungli Road, Quetta. Deacon Gulshan Barkat of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate was ordained by Bishop Victor Gnanapragasam, the Vicar Apostolic of Quetta.