Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Catholicism in the Philippines

“…500 years have passed since the Christian message first arrived in the Philippines. You received the joy of the Gospel... And this joy is evident in your people … We see it in your eyes, on your faces, in your songs and in your prayers. In the joy with which you bring your faith to other lands …”

~ Pope Francis said in his homily of the Mass at the Vatican on March 14, formally opening the yearlong celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of Catholicism’s arrival in the Philippines.

A country of 7,641 islands at the sea of southeast Asia with a population of 109 million, of which more than 10 million are migrants living in almost 100 countries across the world.

Why the Pope calls Filipinos “smugglers of faith”? What makes the local Church so unique?

What is the Catholic population in the country? How many dioceses, bishops are there?

All you need to know about the Church in the Philippines in one click
Support Asian Catholic Dioceses Directory
Support Asian Catholic Dioceses Directory

Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang

Report An Error
Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang
  • Facebook Share
  • Twitter Share

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.

Help us improve the Asian Catholic Dioceses Directory

Support Asian Catholic Dioceses Directory
Support Asian Catholic Dioceses Directory
UCA News
The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia.
Union of Catholic Asian News Limited
P.O. Box 69626,
Kwun Tong,
Hong Kong
[email protected]