Raiganj 30 April 2016: Most Rev. Alphonsus F. D’Souza, SJ, Bishop of Raiganj, West Bengal passed away at Bishop’s House, Raiganj, at 12.30 p.m., on 30 April 2016, following a massive heart attack. He was 76. Bishop Alphonsus’ health was not good for quite some time. He was all set to go for a medical check-up to Siliguri around noon on 30 April 2016, walked down the stairs from his room to the ground floor, but before getting into the vehicle, suffered a massive heart attack and passed away. Bishop Alphonsus D’Souza is the elder brother of Archbishop Albert D’Souza of Agra.
Bishop Alphonsus was born on 4 July 1939, in Kattingere (Moodubelle), Udupi District in Karnataka. He was the son of a school teacher (Monnu Master) and had 12 other siblings. He joined Jesuit congregation and made his profession on 20 June 1957. He was ordained a priest on 13 July 1971, and was appointed Bishop of Raiganj on 26 January 1987. His episcopal ordination was on 17 April 1987 and was installed as bishop of Raiganj, Uttar Dinajpur in West Bengal. Fr Alphonsus served as Calcutta Jesuit provincial superior before his Episcopal installation. He was a priest for 44 years and a bishop for 28 years.
The Diocese of Raiganj was erected by Pope Paul VI by the Apostolic Bull “Ut Petrus et Pastor” dated 8 June 1978. The diocese was formed by detaching from the Diocese of Dumka, the district of West Dinajpur and Malda. The West Dinajpur district has been further subdivided into two Districts: North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur. The diocese lies completely in the State of West Bengal. In 1952 a part of West Dinajpur and Malda were cut off from the Diocese of Dinajpur (now in Bangladesh) and the Prefecture of Malda was erected under the care of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign missionaries of Milan (PIME). But in 1962, when the Diocese of Dumka was erected, the Prefecture of Malda was suppressed and the area was fused with Dumka diocese. Now the area of the former Malda Prefecture plus the Islampur subdivision of former West Dinajpur has become the Diocese of Raiganj.