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Diocese of Denpasar

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Diocese of Denpasar
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In a land area of 25,786 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers two provinces: Bali and West Nusa Tenggara. It serves all districts and municipalities/towns in these provinces.

Bali province: Denpasar town and Badung, Tabanan, Jembrana, Buleleng, Karangasem, Klungkung, Bangli and Gianyar districts.

West Nusa Tenggara province: Mataram and Bima towns and West Lombok, North Lombok, Central Lombok, East Lombok, Sumbawa, West Sumbawa, Dompu and Bima districts.


As of 2010, a total of 8,443,551 people lived in the territory. The origins of the Balinese came from three periods: The first waves of immigrants came from Java and Kalimantan in the prehistoric times of the proto-Malay stock; the second wave of Balinese came slowly over the years from Java during the Hindu period; the third and final period came from Java, between the 15th and 16th centuries, at the time of the conversion of Islam in Java, aristocrats fled to Bali from the Javanese Majapahit Empire to escape Islamic conversion, reshaping the Balinese culture into a syncretic form of classical Javanese culture with many Balinese elements.


The Catholic mission in the diocese officially began when a Divine Word missioner, Father Pater Johannes Kersten, arrived in Denpasar, Bali, on Sept. 12, 1935. He was assigned by prefect apostolic of Lesser Sunda Islands Monsignor Leven, SVD. At that time, Bali was part of this prefecture, which also comprised of East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara provinces.

The Dutch priest sailed to Flores Island together with his fellow Father Van Heyden, SVD. They arrived in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, in May 1935. After staying a few months here with Father Heyden, Father Kersten went to Bali and arrived in Denpasar on that respective September day in 1935. This date (Sept. 12) was then determined as the beginning of the mission of Catholic Church in the diocese.

The presence of Father Kersten started to bear fruits. Two native young men - I Wayan Diboleg and I Made Bronong - from Tuka hamlet, about 15 kilometers from Denpasar, became Catholics in May 1936. Before joining Catholic Church, they were already baptized in Protestant church. When their pastor left them, they met Father Kersten at a small chapel in Denpasar in November 1935. These young men were the first native Catholics.

In 1950, Bali and Lombok were elevated to a prefecture. Its prefect apostolic was Monsignor Hubertus Hermens, SVD. When the hierarchy of Indonesia was established on Jan. 3, 1961, prefecture Bali-Lombok was then elevated to the diocese of Denpasar. Its first bishop was Monsignor Paulus Sani Kleden, SVD. His episcopal ordination was on Oct. 3, 1961.

Up to 1990, the diocese's area only covered Bali and Lombok Islands. On Nov. 24, 1990, however, Sumbawa Island, which was served by Weetebula diocese, was entrusted to Denpasar diocese.


The land, sea and air transportations are available in the diocese. Villages can be accessed from the main asphalted roads. Almost every island has harbor connecting one to another.


The main industries in the diocese are tourism, garments and handicrafts. However, agriculture is still the main sector because this is the main livelihood of most people. They plant rice as well as pea, coffee, cocoa and clove.


The telecommunication in the diocese is good. Almost all parts in the diocese can be reached by phone, the Internet, television and radio.


The diocese has a high rate of literacy. Almost all people can read and write.


Bali and West Nusa Tenggara provinces are rich in cultures. Both have traditional musical instruments such as gamelan (a set of instruments as a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together) and gendang beleq (big drum) and traditional songs and dances.

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