Former Bishops

Msgr. Alban Swarbrick OFM Cap.

Jalandhar was erected as a Prefecture Apostolic in 1952 and was entrusted for development to the British Capuchin Province. The Holy See appointed Fr. Alban Swarbrick OFM Cap., who was serving in Delhi, as the first Prefect Apostolic. Fresh from the trauma of the partition of India and with meager human and material resources the Church in Punjab was a non-entity.


Msgr. Alban Swarbrick went about the daunting task of laying the foundation of the Church in Punjab with great Missionary zeal and total trust in God’s providence. The Prefecture was raised to the status of a Diocese on December 6, 1971 and Rt. Rev. Msgr. Symphorian Keeprath OFM Cap., of the Indian Province of the Capuchins with its headquarters in Kerala, was appointed its first Bishop.

Bishop Symphorian Keeprath OFMCap., was consecrated Bishop at St. Francis’ Church, Amritsar on 18th March,1972 and he was installed at the Cathedral at Jullundur Cantt on 22nd of the same month. He dynamically served the Diocese for the next 35 years and saw to the steady growth of the Diocese on all fronts.The number of faithful increased from 15,000 in 1972 to 1,15,000 in 2006. His resignation was accepted by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI due to his reaching the canonical age of retirement on February 24, 2007. Rt. Rev. Dr. Anil Joseph Thomas Couto, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Delhi, was appointed as his successor. Bishop Symphorian Keeprath OFM Cap. spent the rest of his days at Domus Mariae, Ludhiana, as he preferred to be close to the Hospital for his treatments. He spent his last days in the CMC Hospital with several complications to his internal organs and passed away for his eternal reward on May 3, 2015.His mortal remains were laid to rest at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Jalandhar Cantt., on May 9, 2015 in a solemn celebration of the funeral rites attended by several ecclesiastical and civil dignitaries. 

Bp. Symphorian Keeprath OFM Cap.

Bp. Anil Joseph Thomas Couto

Bishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto was installed as the Bishop of Jalandhar on April 15, 2007 at the Cathedral in Jalandhar Cantt in a grand celebration in which several Bishops and a good number of priests from the region, Religious and a large number of lay faithful of the Diocese participated. Hailing from Goa, West India, he was born on 22nd September 1954 and ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Delhi on February 8, 1981. He was nominated as Auxiliary Bishop of Delhi on January 17, 2001 and was consecrated Bishop on March11, 2001. Bishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto administered the Diocese as its Bishop from April 15, 2007 to January 20, 2013 when he was installed as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Delhi. He continued as the Apostolic administrator of Jalandhar till the installation of Rt. Rev. Dr. Franco Mulakkal as the Bishop of Jalandhar on August 4, 2013.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal hails from the Diocese of Trichur, Kerala, South India. He was born on March 25, 1964 and after his preliminary education joined the Minor Seminary of the Diocese at Trichur. He joined the Diocese of Jalandhar at the end of the Minor Seminary to fulfill his desire to be a missionary. After completing his Seminary formation from St. Charles Seminary, Nagpur he was ordained on April 21, 1990. He holds a Doctorate in Ecumenism from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, and has been teaching ecumenism at Vidya Jyothi, Delhi and Holy Trinity Regional Major Seminary, Jalandhar since 1999. He was also the Chairman of the Commission for Ecumenism of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) till 2010 and was member of the Commission for Doctrine of Faith of the same Conference. He was also a member of the Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). He had also served as the member of the Office of theological Concerns (OTC) of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC)

In the year 2018, Bishop Franco was accused of repeatedly raping a nun belonging to the congregation of the Missionaries of Jesus and a complaint was filed against him in the Kuravilangad Police station, Kerala on 28th June, 2018. The case was investigated by Special Investigating Team from Kerala. Bishop requested His Holiness Pope Francis to relieve him temporarily from the administration of the diocese to concentrate on the case to bring out the truth and prove his innocence. His request was considered and was relieved of the administration of the diocese on 20th September 2018 and appointed Most Rev. Dr. Agnelo Rufino Gracias as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese.  On June 01, 2023, Pope Francis accepted his resignation as the Bishop of Jalandhar.

Bp. Franco Mulakkal

Bp. Agnelo Rufino Gracias

Bishop Agnelo Rufino Gracias originally from Colva, Goa, was born in Mombasa, Kenya, Africa, on July 30, 1939. After finishing his priestly studies through the diocesan seminary, Parel and St Pius X College, Goregaon, he was ordained priest on December 21, 1962. After serving as an assistant at Holy Name Cathedral from June 1, 1963 to May 31, 1971 he was deputed to Rome for further studies – Doctorate in Spiritual Theology – between 1971-1975. Upon his return, he joined the St Pius X College as professor and spiritual director on June 1, 1975. On June 1, 1985 he was appointed the Rector of St Pius X College and held the position till May 31, 1993.

He served as parish priest at St Michael’s Church, Mahim from June 1, 2000 to February 2001. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay on March 13, 2001 and ordained bishop by Cardinal Ivan Dias on April 21, 2001. He became Archdiocesan Consulter on August 1, 2007 and was appointed Pontifical Commissary Heralds of Good News on January 16, 2008. In January 2011, Bishop Agnelo was appointed Chairman, CCBI Doctrinal Commission and on June 1, 2011, he was once again appointed the Rector of St. Pius X College, Goregaon till May 31, 2013. He retired as Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay on 30 Jul 2014.

His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed His Excellency Bp. Agnelo Rufino Gracias, the Emeritus Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Jalandhar, sede plena et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis with effect on September 20, 2018. He took the charge as the Apostolic Administrator on October 8, 2018. On June 01, 2023 Pope Francis appointed His Excellency Bp. Agnelo Rufino Gracias, as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Jalandhar, sede plena et ad nutum Sanctae Vacante.