The 39,840 square kilometer (21, 45 percent of West Kalimantan) archdiocese of Pontianak covers seven districts -- Pontianak, Kubu Raya, Kabupaten Pontianak, Singkawang, Sambas, Bengkayang and Landak. It borders with South China Sea in the north and west, Sanggau diocese and East Malaysia in the east, and Java Sea and Ketapang diocese in the south.
Catholics in the archdiocese consists of several ethnic backgrounds, such as: Dayak, Chinese, Javanese, Papuan, Toraja (people of South Sulawesi), and Timorese and Florinese (people of East Nusa Tenggara).
The history of Catholicism began in 1313 when a Franciscan priest came to Singkawang, West Kalimantan. It was then widespread to all parts of West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan. In 1688, Jesuit priests arrived in Kalimantan and hence the number of Catholics got bigger. In 1692, Pope Innocent XII established the vicariate apostolic of Borneo. However, the mission did not work since the vicar apostolate was killed by indigenous people. As a result, the Gospel spreading activities were totally prohibited and hence Jesuit priests left Singkawang in 1897.
On Feb. 11, 1905, the Holy See established apostolic prefecture of Dutch Borneo, which was based in Singkawang. As its name suggests, it covered Borneo Island which was occupied by the Dutchs. The prefecture then was entrusted to the Capuchins. On April 10, 1905, Capuchin Father Pacificus Boss was appointed apostolic prefect and he, together with three priests and two brothers, moved to Singkawang on Nov. 30, 1905. At that time, Singkawang had already 150 Catholics.
In 1907, Capuchins opened their first mission station in Laham, East Kalimantan, while Pontianak mission station was opened in 1909. The apostolic prefecture of Dutch Borneo was then based in Pontianak since it was considerably strategic.
Since the Church was broadly developed, the apostolic prefecture was elevated into the apostolic vicariate of Dutch Borneo on March 14, 1918, and Father Pacificius was chosen as vicar apostolic and ordained a bishop on Nov. 17, 1918.
On May 21, 1938, the apostolic vicariate of Pontianak was officially established. Capuchin Bishop Tarcisius Henricus Josephus van Valenberg succeeded Bishop Pacificius, who resigned as vicar apostolic of Pontianak, on Dec.10, 1934.
The apostolic vicariate of Pontianak was elevated into the archdiocese on Jan. 3, 1961, and Capuchin Bishop Herculanus Joannes Maria van der Burgt was appointed archbishop. He died on July 2, 1976. On Feb.26, 1977, Capuchin Bishop Hieronymus Herculanus Bumbun was appointed archbishop of Pontianak. Its suffragan dioceses include Sanggau, Sintang, and Ketapang.
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.
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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.
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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.