The Roman Catholic Diocese of Ooty was established by the Apostolic Constitution - Nuntiatur in Psalmis - of Pope Pius XII, which was announced on 3rd July 1955. It was originally a part of the mother Diocese of Mysore between 1941 and 1955, after which the diocese of Ooty was segregated.
The Diocese of Ooty comprises of the entire Nilgiris District and a part of the Erode District situated to the north of River Bhavani and encompasses an area of 7,312 sq. kms holding a Christian population of 14, 60,000 of which 84,900 are Catholics and 51,000 are Christians from other Christian denominations.
The Paris Foreign Mission Headquarters was situated at Pondicherry and the Priests found it difficult to service an immense territory that stretched across Pondicherry, Kumbakonam, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Mysore due to their small numbers. Despite this difficulty and the current political conditions, two Fathers succeeded in obtaining permission to settle in Karumathampatti situated in the Coimbatore District in 1836.
In 1838, one of the M .E. P. Fathers took charge of the small emerging out-station of the Coimbatore Mission at Ooty, Coonoor and Kotagiri and in 1842; a small chapel was constructed to cater to the spiritual needs of the Christian community in Ooty which gradually increased after the completion of the Ghat road that connected Mettupalayam and Coonoor.
After being a part of the Diocese of Mysore for 14 years, finally on 3rd July, 1955, Ooty was raised to the status of a diocese in its own right owing to the difficulties arising out of the differences in culture, language and the distance for commuting.
The Diocese of Ooty is gifted with the Nilgiris and Talavadi Hills including the plains in the Sathyamangalam area and spans over three districts that include the entire Nilgiris, a part of Erode District and the Coimbatore District. Since the Nilgiris District is the junction of three States, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, it makes for a perfect place for the Christian community to meet together for various community work purposes owing to which it is also noticed that Inter-linguistic marriages are a common practice in the diocese of Ooty.
The Diocese of Ooty caters to a congregation that constitutes of farmers and mostly people who earn daily wages apart from people with different cultures and the Tribal community of the Nilgiris and Erode districts who embraced Christianity.
The Roman Catholic Churches in Ooty that fall under the diocese of Ooty include The Sacred Heart Church, St. Theresa’s Church and St. Mary's Church.
Sacred Heart Church was constructed by Rev. Father Foubert in 1897. Post the First World War Rev. Father Belylsi constructed the bell towers of this Church. On 3rd July 1955, the Diocese of Ooty was raised to a separate diocese in its own right after which the Sacred Heart Church was assigned as the diocesan Cathedral.
In 1987, while Rev. Father Ambrose was repairing the roofs of the Sacred Heart Cathedral owing to its dilapidated condition, the roof of this sanctuary crumbled down after which it underwent a major renovation and repair work. On 7th July 1989, the Sacred Heart Cathedral was consecrated after its renovation was complete and it was opened to the congregation for services.
The congregation of Roman Catholics constitutes of 6,800 faithful and comprise of the Religious Order of the Franciscan Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and Adoration Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. This Church also runs a few Educational Centres such as the Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School and Sacred Heart Middle School at Bandishola and Technical Institute are Sacred Heart Technical Institute and the Sacred Heart Computer Centre at Charring Cross.
Holy Communion Mass is held every Sunday at 7:00 AM in English, 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM; on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, Mass is held at 7:00 AM and 5:30 PM while on Tuesdays, Mass is held at 7:00 AM and Mass & Novena are held at 5:30 PM in St. Antony's Shrine at Charring Cross.
St. Mary’s Church is considered as the first Catholic Church that was established in Ooty. It was in 1837 when Rev. Father Bigot Beauclair visited Ooty and construction of this Church began in full swing within 2 years.
The original St. Mary’s Church was transformed into the present St. Joseph's Primary School. This was owing to the fact that the catholic population was rapidly increasing in Ooty and original St. Mary’s Catholic Church could not hold a large Catholic congregation and thus a larger Church was constructed in 1870 which is known currently as the St. Mary’s Church.
Mass is held at St. Mary’s Church with a congregation of 4,225 Catholics and Religious Order comprises of the Brothers of St. Michael, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Daughters of the Heart of Mary and Bon Secours.
Educational Centres of St. Mary’s Church comprises of Bethlehem Higher Secondary School, Bethlehem Primary School at St. Mary's Hill, Bethlehem Teacher Training Institute, Child Jesus Primary School at St. Mary's Hill, Nazareth High School, Rex Hr. Sec. School, St. Francis Xavier's Middle School at Kuruthukuli, St. Joseph's College of Education, St. Joseph's Hr. Secondary School, St. Joseph's Primary School at St. Mary's Hill and St. Theresa's Primary School at Hosatty.
The St. Mary’s Church runs classes for poor children, a Day Crèche at Muthorai, Loretto Home and Nazareth in Ooty including a Typewriting Institute and Embroidery & Tuition Centre at Mariakam.
Sunday Holy Mass is held at 6:15 AM, 7:15 AM in English, 9:00 AM and 5:45 PM. Mass is held every Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday at 6:45 AM and 5:45 PM. Every Wednesday Mass is held at 6:45 AM and Mass at Infant Jesus Shrine is held at 5:30 PM. Mass is held every Thursday at 6:45 AM and Adoration followed by Mass is held at 5:45 PM.
The St. Joseph's Industrial School served as the parish church for the Catholic congregation of St. Theresa's Parish in 1934. This Church was then segregated from St. Mary’s Parish in 1935 and was made a separate Parish in Ooty.
On 15th March 1964, the foundation stone of St. Theresa’s Church was laid and on 6th June 1965, this Church was blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr. A. Padiyara. It was then renovated in 1979.
Mass is held at St. Theresa’s Church with a congregation of 6,500 Catholics and Religious Order are the Franciscan Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and the Society of Jesus. The Educational Centres constitute of Nirmala Primary School at Kakathope, Nirmala School at Fingerpost, Red Cross Nursery School at Kandal, St. Antony's Primary School at Kandal, St. Theresa's High School at Fingerpost and St. Theresa's Primary School at Fingerpost. Technical Institutes are St. Joseph's Industrial Institute at Fingerpost while Social Centres comprises of the Button Packing Section, Day Crèche and Hostel for Students at Fingerpost and Typewriting & Needle Work Centre. Medical Centres constitute of Nirmala Nursing Home situated at Fingerpost.
Sunday Holy Mass is held at 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM while on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Rosary is held at 6:45 AM and Mass is held at 7:00 AM. Rosary is held every Friday at 5:15 PM and Mass is held at 5:30 PM. Adoration followed by Mass is held every First Friday from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM and Votive Mass to Our Lady is held every First Saturday at 7:00 AM while Votive Mass to Our Lady is held at the Grotto every First Saturday at 5:30 PM.
The Kandal Cross Shrine Parish is situated on the outskirts of Ooty and better known as a pilgrimage centre. It features a life-size bronze crucifix that was imported by Rev. Father P. Crayssac from France who was then the Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Church in Ooty. This Crucifix was erected on a boulder in 1933 to commemorate the 19th Centenary of the Redemption of Mankind.
The Kandal Cross Shrine was a substation of St. Theresa’s Church at Fingerpost up till 1998. On 14th May 1998, this Church was established as a separate parish by its own right by His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Antony Anandarayar.
The Kandal Cross Shrine Parish serves a Catholic Congregation of 360 faithful.
St. Jude’s Church is situated at Elkhill in Ooty and was a substation of St. Mary's Church up till 1985. On 7th July, 1985, this Church was bifurcated from St. Mary's Parish and was made a separate Parish by its own right dedicated to the patronage of St. Jude.
St. Jude’s Church was blessed in 1984 and serves a Catholic Congregation of 1,400 faithful. Social Services of this Parish include a Day Crèche and Balwadi which is one of the 4 major programmes of the Door Step School gearing and preparing kids for the formal education process.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church is situated on the Mysore – Ooty Highway and was established in 1975 primarily for the Catholics residing in Indunagar and who were employed in the Hindustan Photo Films Factory in Ooty. Rev. Father Laborde is credited with the development of this parish and Rev. Father Victor constructed a beautiful Grotto within the premises of this Church in 2000 while Rev. Father Mark Montfort erected the bell tower in 2001.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church serves a Catholic Congregation of 600 faithful.
St. Antony’s Church was indicated as established in 1905 as a small Chapel at Lovedale and remained a substation of St. Mary's Parish of Ooty. This Church was then raised to the Status of a Parish by its own right in 1941 and in 1942; it was renovated to its present structure.
St. Antony’s Church serves a Catholic Congregation of 1,650 faithful. It encompasses the Religious Order of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and has Educational centres such as St. Antony's Middle School at Lovedale, Leena's School at Lovedale and St. Francis Primary School at Manjanakorai.
St. Joseph's Church was a substation of St. Theresa's Parish at Fingerpost up till 1968 after which it remained as a substation of the Parish at Indunagar. It was assigned as a separate parish on 28th June 1992 with St. Joseph as the Patron of this Parish.
St. Joseph's Church serves a Catholic Congregation of 440 faithful.
St. Antony's Church at Kothumudi was a substation of Sacred Heart Cathedral Church in Ooty and its foundation stone was laid on 5th January 1967. This Church was consecrated and opened to services on 28th January 1968 and later was assigned as a separate parish on 19th June 1982.
St. Antony’s Church serves a Catholic Congregation of 250 faithful and includes the Religious Order of the Sisters of the Destitute. It has social service centres such as a Dispensary and Balwadi pre-school.
St. Theresa’s Church at Nanjanad was a substation of the St. Mary’s Parish in Ooty and was assigned as a separate parish by its own right on 7th July 1985. The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary nuns run a Mercy Home for the handicaps, mentally retarded and the Senior Citizens.
St. Theresa’s Church is dedicated to Little Flower of Child Jesus and was blessed and inaugurated at Nanjanad on 29th July 1994.
St. Antony’s Church serves a Catholic Congregation of 333 faithful and comprise of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Religious Order. It runs a Charitable Pope Paul VI Mercy Home and a Pope Paul VI Mercy Home Dispensary Medical Centre.
The Ithalar Parish, established in 1957 was the Mother Church of Annai Velanganni Church at Emerald and Fr. Humberto D’Souza was its first parish priest. After this Church was remodeled and extended, it was made a separate parish by its own right in 1987.
St. Antony’s Church serves a Catholic Congregation of 785 faithful and comprise of the Religious Order of the Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate. It also runs the Fatima Dispensary Medical Centre.
St. Francis of Assisi Church at Kundah was a substation of St. Theresa’s Parish at Selas and later became a part of St. Antony’s Parish at Lovedale. This Church was then assigned as a separate Parish in April 1963 with Fr. Roland Lefevre as its parish priest. This parish served the faithful congregation who were employed at the Kundah Hydro-Electric Project and the area is primarily inhabited by the Badagas people.
St. Antony’s Church serves a Catholic Congregation of 800 faithful. This Church comprises of the Missionaries of Mary Mediatrix Religious order and runs the Sr. Alphonsa High School Educational centre.
St. Thomas Church is a new parish at Parli which was a substation of St. Francis of Assisi Parish at Kundah. It was later separated from the mother parish and assigned as a separate parish on 21st June 1987 with Fr. Roland Lefevre as the first parish priest of St. Thomas Church and his residence placed at Mulli.
Parli is mostly inhabited by the Irulas tribe and the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary nuns who run their social and medical services introduced some of these tribes to the Christian faith without any constrain. They opened a dispensary in 1968 at Mulli to render medical services to the Irulas tribe which later grew into a small hospital managed by these nuns.
St. Antony’s Church serves a Catholic Congregation of 175 faithful and comprise of the Religious order of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and runs the St. Francis Hospital situated at Mulli.
St. Thomas' Parish is dedicated to St. Tomas and was a substation of the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Ooty. It was bifurcated from the parent parish and assigned as a separate parish on 1st September 2008 with Rev. Fr. A. Denis as the first Parish Priest of this Church.
St. Antony’s Church serves a Catholic Congregation of 190 faithful.