By Robin Gomes
A new bishop on Monday took charge of the Diocese of Dibrugarh, in north-east India’s Assam state. As Pope Francis accepted the resignation of retiring Bishop Joseph Aind, Coadjutor Bishop Albert Hemrom automatically succeeded him as bishop.
Unlike an auxiliary bishop, a coadjutor bishop has the right of succession to the episcopal see. This means that when the bishop of the diocese dies, retires, resigns, or is transferred elsewhere, the coadjutor automatically becomes the next bishop of the diocese. The Pope’s appointment of a coadjutor already implies he will succeed as the next bishop.
Bishop Aind, a Salesian, served as the 5th bishop of Dibrugarh, which was erected in 1951. When Saint Pope John Paul appointed him bishop on 23 December 1994, he became the first native bishop of Dibrugarh. He has retired after leading the diocese for nearly 26 years.
Pope Francis appointed Father Albert Hemrom as the Coadjutor Bishop of Dibrugarh on 2 December 2018. He was born in Konapathar village of Tinsukia district of Assam on 27 February 1969. He joined St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary, Dibrugarh, and then studied at Christ the King College, Shillong, and at Oriens Theological College, Shillong.
After his priestly ordination on 25 April 1999, Bishop Hemrom obtained a licentiate in canon law from St. Peter’s Pontifical College, Bangalore in 2003. Later in 2014, he secured a doctorate in Canon Law from Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University.
He served the diocese in various capacities and has been a visiting professor at Oriens Theological College, Shillong (2006-2011). He served as judicial vicar of the diocesan tribunal, rector of Dibrugarh’s St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary and the promoter of vocations of the diocese.