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.
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
St. Joseph’s Church in Lahore is the oldest Catholic Church in Pakistan that has flourished since the 19th century despite deadly sectarian violence in recent years. The church at Sarfaraz Rafiqui Road in Lahore was established as a wooden structure during the British colonial era, on Oct. 31, 1842, to provide pastoral care to the British soldiers. It completed 180 years this year.
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 Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.
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.