INFANT JESUS CHURCH Back
The Capuchins who had been working in Jammu & Kashmir along with Mill Hill Missionaries from 1973 onwards were instrumental in building up the church in Jammu & Kashmir into a full fledged diocese. The Ecclesistical jurisdiction in J&K, then “Prefecture Apstolic to J&K” administered by Mill Hill Missionaries from 1904, was entrusted in 1978 to the Capuchins of St. Joseph Province and Msgr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal OFM Cap. appointed prefect Apostolic. In 1986 the prefecture was raised into a diocese. After having done this it was decided that the capuchins should have a house of their own in the diocese. In collaboration with the diocese a suitable plot of land was bought at Kunjwani in Jammu and a friary was constructed. As the area around the new friary did not provide ample scope for socio-pastoral ministry, the friars requested the Bishop to assign them a separate territory within the Jammu area.
Accdordingly Hiranagar parish comprising Hiranagar Tehsil in Kathua district and parts of Samba Tehsil in Jammu district was given as the area of work to the Capuchins in north India. An agreement, between the Bishop of Jammu – Srinagar Rt. Rev. Dr. Hippolitus Kunnunkal and the Provincial Minister of St. Joseph’s Province, Kerala Br Thomas Jacob was signed, according to which the landed property and institutions of the parish were handed over in perpetuum to the Krist Jyoti Mission in exchange for the Capuchin Ashram and its assets at Kunjuwani, Jammu. Bros Peter Celestine, Jeremias and Jacob Kallely took charge of Hiranagar on 15th Nov., 1995. A new friary was constructed in Hiranagar in the year 1997 under the supervision of Br. Jeremias. The church and presbytery in Hiranagar were built in 1985. Br. Augustine Nattunillam OFM Cap. was the first resident priest and he began a Hindi Medium School which later became Infant Jesus English Medium High School affiliated to J&K Board of School Education. Brs. Joseph Zacharias, Peter Celestine, Jose Kurian, P.A. Joseph, Alexander, Justin Joseph served at Hiranagar in various capacities. At present Fr. Skylark is the guardian and principal Br. Rijo Jhon is the Parish Priest and Manager.
Besides the friary and the school, Hiranagar has a parish church, a social service centre, a convent for the Holy Family Sisters of Shanti Dhara Province, Delhi. Samba is a sub-station of Hiranagar parish where CMC Sisters of Pushparam Province has a convent, an English Medium School, social centre and a hospital under the management of Krist Jyoti Service Society, Samba.