On May 8, 1807, the Vatican established the apostolic prefecture of Batavia (Jakarta's name during Dutch colonial time), which included almost the whole archipelago. In 1808, the first two Dutch missionaries arrived in Batavia. Since then, a few Dutch diocesan priests worked among the Dutch Catholics in Batavia.
In 1842, the apostolic prefecture became an apostolic vicariate, and Monsignor I. Grooff was appointed its first apostolic vicar. Monsignor P.M. Vrancken, who landed together with several diocesan priests in 1848, replaced him. A number of Ursuline sisters, who arrived in 1856, were the first nuns in Batavia. They opened a school here. In 1859, the first Jesuits arrived in Jakarta.
From 1902 to 1919, all islands outside Java were removed from the jurisdiction of the apostolic vicariate. During the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945), the name Batavia was changed to Jakarta. From 1927-1957, almost all of Java, outside the capital of Jakarta, was removed from the jurisdiction of the apostolic vicariate. Apostolic Vicar Petrus Willekens, SJ, was appointed in 1934. He resigned in 1952. Monsignor Adrianus Djajasepoetra, a Jesuit, replaced him in 1953.
On Jan. 3, 1961, Pope John Paul XXIII established the Catholic hierarchy in Indonesia. Jakarta was declared an archdiocese and Jesuit Archbishop Adrianus Djajasepoetra became its first archbishop. He was the first Indonesian bishop in Jakarta. By establishing the hierarchy in Indonesia, Jakarta and West Java became a Church province that included the archdiocese of Jakarta, diocese of Bogor and diocese of Bandung.
The number of Catholics in Jakarta increased from 2,409 in 1941 (not including the European Catholics), to 27,674 in 1952, 32,599 in 1962, 86,236 in 1972, 163,042 in 1980, 234,204 in 1985, 260,524 in 1987, 394,332 in 2001, and 434,762 in 2003. During the time of Jesuit Archbishop Leo Soekoto (1970-1995), the Catholics had increased from 70,520 to be 335,835.
Since 1997, Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja, former archbishop of Semarang, the capital of Central Java province, has been archbishop of Jakarta.
Jakarta archdiocese covers 2,983 square kilometers and includes one province (Jakarta Special Province, 655 square kilometers) and two neighboring districts of other provinces --Tangerang district of Banten province (1,044 square kilometers) and Bekasi district of West Java province (1,284 square kilometers). According to 2016 data, Catholics of the archdiocese number 499,485 out of a total population of 19,090,000.
The archdiocese has eight deaneries: Central Jakarta, West Jakarta I, West Jakarta II, North Jakarta, South Jakarta, East Jakarta, Tangerang and Bekasi. The Catholics of Jakarta archdiocese come from several ethnic backgrounds. They include Chinese, Javanese, Batak (people of North Sumatra), Minahasa (people of North Sulawesi), Toraja (people of South Sulawesi), Timorese and Florinese (people of East Nusa Tenggara).