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).
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
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.
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 the Visitation in Seremban relishes the treasured legacy of pioneering French missionaries who introduced Catholicism in Kuala Lumpur and surrounding region in the 19th century. The first and oldest Church in Kuala Lumpur became a springboard of evangelization following the arrival of French missionary priest Father Pierre Favre from Paris Foreign Mission Society (MEP). Before settling down in Seremban he carried out missionary activities in the area from hismission station in Malacca.
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.