The seed of Catholicism in this region of Orissa could be traced back to the 17th Century, when it was under the care of Madras-Mylapur. By 1845, this region of Orissa was already under the diocese of Visakhapatanam. In the course of time, the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS) evangelized the hilly region of Ganjam and Phulbani and the coastal belt of Berhampur and Cuttack.
After the First World War, the MSFS Fathers handed over the Cuttack Mission to a group of four Spanish Vincentian Fathers in 1923. Later, many other Spanish Missionaries joined them and the Mission work progressed in leaps and bounds. The Mission of Cuttack was declared ‘’Missio Sui Juris’’ by Pope Pius XI on July 18, 1928 and Fr. Valerian Guemes was appointed its Administrator and Ecclesiastical Superior.
In 1937, Cuttack Mission was raised to the status of a diocese and in 1938 Rev. Msgr. Florence Sanz Esperanza, CM, was appointed the first bishop of Cuttack. In 1948, he retired and Rt. Rev. Msgr. Paul Tobar Gonzalves, CM, succeeded him as the second bishop of Cuttack. On April 18, 1971, Bishop Tobar expired and Fr. Vincent Urbaneja, CM, was elected the Administrator of the diocese.
On January 24, 1974 Cuttack Mission was divided into Metropolitan See of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar and the diocese of Berhampur. Rt. Rev. Thomas Thiruthalil, CM, was appointed the first Bishop of Berhampur and was consecrated on May 5, 1974.
Bishop Thomas led the diocese for sixteen long years. With the help of many dedicated diocesan and Vincentian Fathers, he built upon the foundation laid by the MSFS and Spanish Vincentian Fathers. The diocese grew and progressed in a steady manner. On January 13, 1990, Bishop Thiruthalil was transferred to the newly elevated diocese of Balasore and Rt. Rev. Joseph Das was elected the diocesan Administrator on February 17, 1990. The diocese waited and prayed for three long years to get its second bishop. Msgr. Joseph Das was consecrated bishop on July 7, 1993. After Bishop Joseph Das’ retirement, on January 30th 2007 Rev. Fr. Dr. Sarat Chandra Nayak was consecrated as the Bishop of Berhampur Diocese.
The diocese of Berhampur has grown from a small seed to a big tree, therefore following the request of the Prelate and People, beloved Pope Francis established a new Diocese of Rayagada on 28th May, 2016 bifurcating the then Diocese Berhampur, thus Berhampur Diocese became the Mother Diocese. Now the Diocese has two civil Districts of Ganjam and Gajapati, more than 69,807 Catholics, 42 diocesan priests and numerous religious and seminarians.