Mangaluru, Mar 31: Pope Francis has appointed Fr Joachim Walder (67) clergy of the diocese of Aizawl as the auxiliary bishop of Aizawl in northeast India. This provision was made public in Rome on Thursday March 30.
Fr Walder was born on April 20, 1956, born at St Thomas the Apostle parish, Nirkan, Mangalore diocese, Karnataka. He joined St Joseph’s Seminary, Mangaluru in 1973 and completed his minor seminary studies in 1976. From 1976 to 1979 he studied philosophy and BA at Christ King College, Shillong, Meghalaya. From 1979 to 1982 he studied language for the ministry (mainly Bengali) at Shantir Rani parish, Mariamnagar, Tripura. He also did his regency in Holy Cross Parish, Silchar. From 1982 to 1986 he did his theology studies at Papal seminary, Pune.
On April 26, 1986 he was ordained a priest at St Thomas the Apostle Church, Nirkan, diocese of Mangalore. From 1986 to1989, he was given his first appointment and served as the assistant priest at Holy Cross Parish, Silchar, Assam in the diocese of Silchar. From 1989 to1997 he was the parish priest of St Joseph’s Church, Badarpur. He started St Joseph’s School, Badarpur in 1991 and became its first principal.
From 1994 to 1999, he served as dean of Silchar region, Assam. From 1998 to 2003, he was the parish priest of St Joseph’s parish, Manickbond and principal of St. Joseph’s School, Manickbond. From 2003 to 2004, he served as assistant priest at Holy Cross Parish, Silchar.
In 2005, he was tasked with looking after Sacred Heart Church, Kabuganj and toiled hard to develop the place. In 2015, it was erected as Sacred Heart Parish, Kabuganj. He continued to be the parish priest till 2018. In 2007, he founded Holy Cross School, Kabuganj, Assam. From 2007 to 2018, he was principal of Holy Cross School, Kabuganj, Assam. From 2013 to 2018 he was appointed dean of Barak Valley region, diocese of Aizawl. From 2018 till date he holds the office of Episcopal Vicar of Barak Valley Region, diocese of Aizawl.
The former name of the diocese of Aizawl was Silchar. The diocese was bounded on the west and south by Bangladesh, and on the south and east by Myanmar. It began in 1952 as the Apostolic Prefecture of Haflong, entrusted to the Holy Cross Fathers of Canadian province. The prefecture was elevated in 1969 as the diocese of Silchar and it was renamed to Aizawl on January 11, 1996.
The Catholic population in Aizawl diocese is 40,892. There are 42 parishes, 78 priests, 68 male religious, 205 religious sisters and 138 educational institutions.