Pope Francis appointed Bishop Felix Toppo of Jamshedpur as the new archbishop of Ranchi, the mother diocese of India’s tribal Catholics on June 24.
The Pope has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, who was the Ranchi archbishop for the past 34 years.
This was announced in Rome, according to a press release from the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).
Archbishop-designate Toppo, a Jesuit, was born on November 21, 1947, in Tongo, a parish in Gumla diocese. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1982. He has a Masters in Psychology from the Gregorian University, Rome.
He has served the Society of Jesus in various capacities as director of pre-novices, novice master and superior. He was appointed the bishop of Jamshedpur in 1997.
He is currently the governing body chairperson of the CBCI Society for Medical Education, North India; chairperson of the Regional Bishops’ Council of Jharkhand and Andaman and of two regional commissions; vice-chancellor of St. Albert’s College, Ranchi.
Earlier, he was the chairperson of the CBCI Office for Clergy and Religious and of the National Vocation Service Centre, Pune, for four years. Cardinal Toppo has been a bishop for the past 40 years. He became the bishop of Dumka in 1978, when he was 39. He is the first tribal cardinal from Asia.
He has served as the CBCI president as well as the president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, the national association of Latin rite bishops in the country.