Catholic missioners entered the Dayaks' land in Central Kalimantan through South Kalimantan. In 1687, based on an agreement between Portugal and the Sultan, a Catholic missioner was allowed to stay and build a church in Banjarmasin, the capital of South Kalimantan province. On Jan. 18, 1689, Father Antonio Ventimiglia of the Theatin Order, arrived in Banjarmasin from Goa (India).
His meeting with a Dayak Ngaju (Ngaju is a subtribal group of the Dayaks) in the ship that brought him to Banjarmasin encouraged him to carry out mission work among the Dayaks, the major tribe of Kalimantan. Then, accompanied by a Dayak, he traveled by boat, complete with altar, to say Mass along the Barito River and inland into Kalimantan. Thanks to his good relations with the natives, he baptized 3,000 people.
The Catholic Church in Central Kalimantan, however, slowly declined after the death of Father Ventimiglia in 1691. However, the symbol of the cross is still used by tribal people in home accessories and tribal instruments.
The apostolic prefecture of Kalimantan was established in 1905 and Pontianak, capital of West Kalimantan, was the base of the apostolic prefect. The apostolic prefecture of Kalimantan became apostolic vicariate in 1918, and on May 21, 1938, the Vatican erected the apostolic prefecture of Banjarmasin, whose territory included South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and East Kalimantan. It became an apostolic vicariate on 1949.
On April 14, 1993, the Vatican erected the 153,564-square-kilometer diocese of Palangka Raya, which includes the whole territory of the Central Kalimantan province, with Bishop Julius Aloysius Husin, MSF, as its first bishop.
Bishop Husin, however, died on Oct. 13, 1994. Since then, apostolic administrators Divine Word Father Martin M. Anggut, Capuchin Monsignor Fl. Sidot OFM Cap, and Holy Family Father Willibald Pfeuffer led the diocese for seven years.
On Jan. 23, 2001, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Aloysius Sutrisnaatmaka, MSF as bishop of Palangka Raya. He was episcopally ordained on May 7, 2001. His episcopal motto is "Permanere In Gratia Dei (Living in God's Grace)."
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
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.
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.
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.
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.
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.