The Diocese Of Belgaum was erected on September 19, 1953 by the Papal Bull ‘Summa illa Sollicitudo’ of Pope Pius XII, Two civil districts of Belgaum and North Karnataka were separated from the Archdiocese of Goa and two other Civil Districts of Dharwad and Bijapur were taken from the Diocese of Pune in forming the Diocese of Belgaum.
The Most Rev.Dr. Michael Rodrigues was appointed the first Bishop.By Papal Bull 'Christi Missum’ of Pope Paul VI the North Karnataka District was separated from the Belgaum Diocese to form the Diocese of Karwar on January 24, 1976.
Belgaum Diocese now consists of the civil districts of Belgaum, Bagalkot, Dharwad, Gadag and Haveri in Karnataka State and the Changad Taluk in Kolhapur District of Maharashtra State.
Born: 19th October 1894
Ordained as Priest: 19th December 1919
Consecrated as Bishop: 30th November 1953
Died: 9th October 1964
Laid to rest: 11th October 1964
Burial site: Centre Aisle of Fatima Cathedral
Bishop Michael Rodrigues, the first Bishop of Belgaum, was a true shepherd of his flock. He was simple and down to earth. Though he was a disciplinarian, he was a missionary and visionary with a big heart. He strove hard to build a community and has left us the priceless legacy of “FATIMA CATHEDRAL”, dedicated to Our Lady of the Family Rosary of Fatima. The most fitting tribute we can pay to Bishop Michael is to make the Family Rosary an integral part of our family lives.
Born: 13th October 1920
Ordained as Priest: 9th November 1944
Consecrated Co-adjutor Bishop: 3rd September 1962
Took over the reins of the Diocese: 9th October 1964
Died: 7th February 1967
Laid to rest: 9th February 1967
Burial site: Right wing of Fatima Cathedral
Most Rev. Fortunato da Veiga Coutinho was installed as the Bishop of the Diocese of Belgaum on October 9th 1964. The Diocese was blessed to have a young and dynamic pastor in their midst to guide and serve them. He was a man of many intellectual interests and immense personal charm. He helped to shape, streamline and develop the set-up, which Bishop Michael had organised. It is worth remembering his participation in the second Vatican Council. Though Bishop Fortunato lived a short span of life due to his untimely death in a tragic motor accident near Ponda, Goa, he has left long lasting memories in every person’s heart.
Born : 27th April 1919
Ordained Priest : 27th December 1947
Consecrated Bishop: 2nd June 1968
Retired : 1st December 1994
Died: 17th February 2010
Laid to Rest: 19th February 2010
Burial Site: Left wing of Fatima Cathedral
Bishop Ignatius Lobo who took over as Bishop of Belgaum on 2nd June 1968, was aptly described by his Eminence, Valerian Cardinal Gracias on the occasion of his consecration as ‘well grounded, level headed, clever, systematic, but not rigid’ and a Bishop never lacking in holiness.” The wealth of experience he gained as personal secretary to Cardinal Gracias helped him when he was appointed Director of ‘Caritas’ under the auspices of CBCI. He was also a member of the Executive Council of ‘Caritas International’. As Bishop of Belgaum, he took the initiative to complete St. Michael’s Seminary at Machhe. He also undertook the renovation of many churches. He has also rendered yeoman services in the field of education and has been instrumental in starting many educational institutions. Having served the diocese for 27 long and fruitful years he retired to his ancestral hometown, Siolim, Goa. Due to ill health, he was shifted to the clergy home at Dharwad, where he resided for a time and passed away on 17th February 2010.
Born : 10th August 1941
Ordained Priest : 6th December 1967
Consecrated Bishop: 25th February 1997
Appointed Archbishop of Bangalore: 22nd July 2004
Installed Archbishop of Bangalore: 17th September 2004
Bishop Bernard Moras was consecrated as Bishop of Belgaum on 25th February 1997. Prior to his appointment, he was Assistant Director of Fr. Muller’s Hospital in Mangalore and later took the charge as Director. He was also appointed Administrator of St John’s medical College Hospital, Bangalore. Later, he was chosen as Executive Director of the Catholic Hospitals Association of India. As Bishop of Belgaum he started 24 new parishes, a B.B.A. College in the campus of St. Xavier’s High School and upgraded many schools in the diocese. He also started the “Su-Sandesha Kendra” at Belgaum. Bishop Bernard Moras is a pastor who “knows the way, lives the way, walks on and shows the way”. The fruitful seven years of persistent effort, hard work, zeal and enthusiasm, has indeed blessed Bishop Bernard Moras to continue the Mission of Christ and the Mission of the Church, totally surrendering to the will of God. He had many other projects in the pipeline, but the Lord willed him for greater things and at present he is the Archbishop of Bangalore.
Born : 26th May 1954
Ordained Priest: 8th December 1978
Consecrated Bishop: 30th March 2006
“I SOUGHT TO HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD, AND CLIMBED TO THE TOP-MOST TOWER; GOD SAID, GO DOWN AGAIN, I DWELL AMONG THE PEOPLE”
It was the voice of the Lord that brought Bishop Peter Machado to the Diocese of Belgaum to enrich our hearts and lives with his spirit of humility and service. Msgr. Simon Telles aptly described him as “good perfume in a small bottle.” He may have a diminutive stature, but he has a big heart that feels for the poor and the down-trodden. He has lived up to his motto “DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU”. Bishop Peter Machado holds a doctorate in Canon Law from Urban University, Rome. He has served as the Secretary of the Commission for Family and the Laity at Karnataka Regional level for 10 years. Presently, he continues to serve as the Secretary of the Commission for the Laity with the additional responsibility of being the Secretary of the Commission for Women.