In a land area of 90,000 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers three districts: Merauke, Mappi and Boven Digoel.
In 2016, total population in the archdiocese was 320,552. They come from different ethnic background, including Marind, Muyu, Mandobo, Awyu, Yaghai, Tamario, Asmat, Wiyagar and Batak.
Generally, people in the archdiocese use Indonesian language in their daily lives. However, every ethnic group has their own language.
The history of Catholic Church began on May 8, 1807, when the prefecture apostolic of Batavia was established. On Sept. 20, 1842, the prefecture apostolic became vicariate apostolic of Batavia. On Dec. 22, 1902, the vicariate apostolic was divided into prefecture apostolic of Dutch New Guinea. On July 20, 1920, arefecture apostolic of Dutch New Guinea was elevated to a vicariate apostolic, and on May 12, 1949, this vicariate apostolic was divided into vicariate apostolic of Amboina and prefecture apostolic of Hollandia (Jayapura). On June 24, 1950, vicariate apostolic of Amboina became vicariate apostolic of Merauke. On June 14, 1954, prefecture apostolic of Hollandia was elevated to a vicariate apostolic.
On Nov. 15, 1966, Monsignor Salvatore Pappalardo, who served as apostolic pro-nuncio to Indonesia, was assigned to create an ecclesiastical area in Papua by elevating vicariate apostolic of Merauke to archdiocese of Merauke and vicariate apostolic of Hollandia to diocese of Sukarnapura.
Even though all three districts have main roads connecting to one another, transportation often becomes a problem during rainy season. All accesses to the districts are closed down because of the rain water flooding.
The average income of an individual living in remote areas served by the archdiocese of Merauke is 1,000 rupiah (about $0.11) a day. Economically, the per capita income is unstable.
Only in Merauke district, some national private television channels can be relayed. But all three districts have some local private radio broadcasting.
Many people use cell phones. However, SSB (single-sideband modulation) is still needed in remote areas.
The number of school buildings in all three districts has increased. However, remote villages still lack in education.
Every ethnic has their own music. However, people also listen to popular songs such as rock and hip hop.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
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.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
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 Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.