The area known today as Pet Yiet Chee has been a stronghold of Catholic presence in Battambang. Around 300 Catholics left Pursat and Kompong Svay in Cambodia on Jan. 5, 1790, to settle there.
During the 18th century, the missionaries helped better the lives of the people in Battambang, thereby freeing slaves, buying rice fields and assisting the poor and the needy in times of trouble.
Two nuns belonging to the Providence of Portieux began a crèche, a hospital and an orphanage in Battambang in 1905.
The apostolic prefecture of Battambang was established on Sept. 26, 1968, and was entrusted to Monsignor Paul Tep Im Sotha.
The Khmer Rouge, the communist party, took over capital Phnom Penh in May 1975. The genocide that followed resulted in the death of approximately 2 million people.
The victims included Monsignor Sotha and Father Jean Badre, a French Benedictine, who were killed in May 1975 at Bat Trang in Mongkol Borei district of Banteay Mean Chey province in northwest Cambodia, near the Thailand border.
The refugees, who returned in the early 1990s, helped revive the Catholic communities in northwest Cambodia through prayer and worship. They had received intense formation by MEP missionaries during their exile in Thailand. The Church brought back its property which earlier housed the hospital of the Providence sisters.
The Catholic communities were granted permission to worship freely and Caritas Cambodia was re-established after 15 years. The Vatican re-appointed Bishop Yves Ramousse as apostolic vicar of Phnom Penh on July 25, 1992. Bishop Ramousse became the apostolic administrator on Dec 21, the same year, up until 2000, when Jesuit Father Enrique Figaredo was appointed the apostolic prefect of Battambang.
Father Figuredo has been working with the people of Cambodia since 1985.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.