Bangalore 18 July 2015: His Holiness Pope Francis on Saturday 18 July 2015 appointed Rev. Fr. Basil Bhuriya, SVD, parish priest and member of the Provincial Council of the Fathers of The Society of Divine Word, as bishop of the diocese of Jhabua in the State of Madhya Pradesh. Bishop Devprasad Ganawa SVD, the former Bishop of Jhabua, after his appointment and transfer to the Diocese of Udaipur on 21 December 2012, has also been functioning as the Apostolic Administrator of Jhabua Diocese to date.
The 59-year-old priest is the first prelate from Bhil, one of the major tribal groups in central India. The bishop-elect is currently the parish priest of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church of Thandla, a parish under the predominantly tribal diocese. He took charge of the parish six years ago.
Rev. Fr. Basil Bhuriya, SVD, was born on 8th March, 1956, in Panchkui, Diocese of Jhabua. He joined St. Thomas Seminary, Dhow, on 30 June 1969. He did his college studies at the University of Indore from 1976 to 1979 where he obtained B.A. degree. On 30 June 1979, he joined the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) as a novice. He studied Philosophy and Theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum of Pune. He made his solemn vows on 12 June, 1985, and was ordained a priest on 2 May 1986, for the same Society of the Divine Word.
Since his priestly ordination, Fr. Basil held the following ministries and offices: Assistant Pastor in Muvalia, Gujarat, Diocese of Baroda (1987-1988); Vice-Rector of St. Thomas’ Seminary, Diocese of Indore (1988-1992); Rector of St. Thomas Seminary, Indore (1992-1997); Parish Priest at Dhar, Diocese of Indore (1997-2002); Director of Hostel, Thandla, Diocese of Jhabua (2002-2005); Parish Priest at Raigarh, Diocese of Jhabua (2005-2009). Since 2009, he is Pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Thandla, Jhabua; and since 2011, Member of the Provincial Council of the Central Indian Province of the Society of the Divine Word.
Jhabua diocese was created in 2002 as the suffragan of the Archdiocese of Bhopal. Spread over an area of 21,366 square kilometers the diocese has nearly 39,000 Catholics in a population of 5.8 million. It has are 30 parishes, served by 68 priests (46 diocesan and 22 religious), 26 religious brothers, 211 nuns and 36 seminarians.