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Church in Nepal

Capital : Kathmandu
Population : 28 million
Catholics : 7643
Jurisdictions : One Apostolic Vicariate
Parishes : 16
Major Religions : Hinduism 81.3%, Buddhism 9%, Islam 4.4%, Christianity 1.4%
Catholicism in Nepal begins with its inclusion in the diocese of Funchal, Portugal, and in 1533 as part of the diocese of Goa. Until 1983, it was part of different Indian dioceses.

Missionaries entered Nepal in 1715, when Capuchin fathers arrived at the Kathmandu Valley at the invitation of the Malla Kings. The priests were given freedom to preach Christianity and even to build a church. Our Lady's Assumption Church was built in 1760, and the Annunciation of Our Lady Church was constructed in Bhaktapur.

After the unification of Nepal by Prithvi Narayan Shah into a Hindu kingdom, the priests were asked to leave for fear that they were British agents. In 1769, the missionaries and many Nepalese Christians left for India and settled in Chuhari, Northern Bihar. In 1893, the whole of Nepal was added to the prefecture of Bettiah, India. It was then a part of Patna, an India apostolic vicariate, from 1919 until the establishment of the mission covering Nepal in 1983.

With the introduction of democracy in 1951, the Jesuit missionaries started educational institutions but were not allowed to evangelize. The Catholic mission was established in 1983 with territory taken from the Patna diocese and entrusted to the care of the Jesuits.

In 1992, Church of the Assumption, a new church, was officially recognized. In 1996, the mission was elevated to the rank of the apostolic prefecture.

As of 2018, there are 7,643 Catholics in Nepal. The Nepalese church continues to grow. A convent was inaugurated along with a training center in western Nepal in June 2006, a first for western Nepal.
The interim constitution, finalized in 2007, guarantees religious freedom but prohibits people from trying to convert others.

Pope Benedict XVI elevated the prefecture of Nepal to the rank of a vicariate in 2007 and appointed Father Anthony Sharma as the first vicar and the first Nepalese bishop of the Catholic Church.
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