A Brief chronicle of the Toamasina Diocese

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When the Vicariate of Madagascar was divided into 3 in 1896, the territory covering the present diocese depended on Antananarivo. In 1919, some stations (Vatomandry, Mahanoro) were entrusted to the care of the Prémontrés fathers.

Tamatave 3Tamatave 2After the 1st World War, Gospel preaching increased in an extraordinary way. This was due to many Malagasy soldiers being sent in France. Once there, they got baptized and became themselves missionaries when they came back to their village.

After the 1st World War, Gospel preaching increased in an extraordinary way. This was due to many Malagasy soldiers being sent in France. Once there, they got baptized and became themselves missionaries when they came back to their village.

Tamatave 1Tamatave 4

 The 1st group was composed by 4 missionaries. They arrived on the 1st May in 1933. They took charge of the apostolic prefecture which was running from Foulpoint to Nosy Varika.

It was under the direction of his Lord Bishop Le Breton who became the 1st Bishop of the apostolic Vicariate until his death in 1957. Le Breton, the LebretonSuperior has already worked in Mozambique and knew how important having capable catechists was. He created a school especially for them. Many other missionaries joined the 4. Work was done with liveliness. The priests were in charge of the pastoral work and the religious Brothers were in charge of the construction work.

Each year, reinforcements arrived and in December 1934 the Filles de la Sagesse sisters landed. They took care of schools and clinics.

In 1935 the zone where the Monfortains worked became an apostolic prefecture. Father Le Breton became the prefect. It was reported from Madagascar that the appointment arrived to the new prefect in the middle of a meeting of the Island’s bishops, just after the Eucharistic congress, in Fianarantsoa. The chosen was directly raised to the prelature status: each present person gave away something to put on him.

During the big yearly meetings gathering the Monfortains, a common pastoral method adapted to the circumstances and the persons was set up: Catechism schools importance was reaffirmed, catechumenat was structure and lasted 2 years, Catholic school and the various secular movements’ role was defined, each community was granted an experienced responsible, a catechist etc. In short, one can say there was no cheap baptism without catechism.

 

 

PusetRazafindrazakaToamasina became a diocese in 1955 and depended since 1958 on the North Archdiocese which was under the direction of his Lord Bishop Puset. Lord Bishop Le Breton was searching for new collaborators amongst the Italian Monfortains. Until then, they were only French. The 1st three Italians arrived at the end of 1955. Others would follow later.

In 1958, Bishop Jules PUSET was appointed Bishop of Toamasina. At the creation of the Mananjary diocese in 1968, the Nosy Varika region was cut from Toamasina. When Lord PUSET died, he was replaced by Bishop Jérôme RAZAFINDRAZAKA in 1972.

Tamatave 6Bishop Jérôme RAZAFINDRAZAKA undertook then appropriate actions at the General House in order to obtain permission for the Oblate missionaries to work in the diocese of Toamasina. The Council accepted the new foundation on 15th May 1979. A month later, the Toamasina Bishop, having been informed, could attend the ordination of three new priests appointed for a mission in his diocese while passing by Poland.

 

 

It was during the celebration of Saint François Xavier’s Day, on 3rd December 1980 that the 5 first Polish missionaries arrived. They were charged to work in the south part of the Toamasina Diocese.

5pierwszych

Rakotondrabe

Mgr Tsarahazana

 

 

When Bishop Jérôme RAZAFINDRAZAKA retired in 1989, he was replaced by the prior Tuléar Bishop; Bishop René RAKOTONDRABE.

Then, when Bishop RAKOTONDRABE retired on 24th November 2008, it was Bishop Désiré TSARAHAZANA who was appointed Bishop of Toamasina.

 

 

 

The Bishops who succeeded each other in Toamasina :

Alain-Sébastien Le Breton, † SMM, appointed on 8th October 1935 and resigned on 15th March 1957
Jules-Joseph PUSET, † PSS, appointed 14th November 1957 and resigned 25th March 1972
Jérôme Razafindrazaka † , appointed 25th March 1972 and retires 15th May 1989
René Joseph Rakotondrabe † , appointed 15th May 1989 and retired 24th November 2008
Désiré Tsarahazana, appointed 24th November 2008