Journeying Together in God's Love
On March 1, 1987 Msgr. Lucas Kerketta was consecrated the bishop of Sambalpur. He chose the motto “Journeying together in God’s love”. This speaks of his personality, his style of leadership and the way he wants the church in Sambalpur diocese to be developed.
In 1979, when the diocese was divided, it consisted of three civil districts. These three districts have now been reorganized into eight – Sambalpur, Anugul, Bargarh, Bolangir, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Jharsuguda and Sonepur. Now we have 3 different categories of people with their own identity, culture and problems. In the Western part we have Dalits (Gonda) who are socially, economically and educationally backward. To work with them is a massive task. The middle part consists of Chotanagpur tribes. Most of them have migrated from Sundargarh districts and some parts of Jharkhand. They have occupied the interior forest lands and making their living from it and the forest to great extend. They are economically poor, but are very generous and strong in faith. Culturally they are very rich and committed to the church. The third category is ‘Ho’ tribe. They are still primitive in their life style and social organisations. No development activities of anyone has touched them. The church has first time entered into their villages and homes. Now with the help of the missionaries, education and faith formation has brought some changes.
The diocese has also industrial centres like NALCO, NTPC, Super Thermal, Coal mines, Steel Factories etc. These areas provide new pastures for various apostolates.