Tanjungkarang diocese covers the whole territory of Lampung province located on the southern tip of Sumatra Island. It borders South Sumatra and Bengkulu provinces.
Lampung province includes nine districts - South Lampung, East Lampung, West Lampung, Central Lampung, North Lampung, Tanggamus, Tulangbawang, Way Kanan, and Pesawaran - and two municipalties, Bandarlampung and Metro.
The largest portion of the province's land area consists of farm lands and plantations. Some of the major produces includes robusta, coconuts, and cloves.
According to local government 2017 data, Lampung has 9,709,927 population spread in 3,301,784 hectare (about 35,000 square kilometers) land area with a density of 190.3 people per square kilometers.
The population includes mostly or more than 70 percent descendants of migrants from Java, Madura, and Bali, while the rest are Lampung indigenous tribal people, and migrants from North Sumatra and South Sulawesi.
Most of the migrants came as part of the government's transmigration program. First transmigration was in 1905 when the Dutch colonial government resettled poor farmers from Java in empty areas outside Java. Lampung became a main transmigration destination in early 1930s.
Another migration program, in small scale, was initiated in 1918 by Indo-Europeesch Verbond (IEV, Dutch acronym), a Eurasian community association with members including Europeans and Chinese descents who lived in Tanjungkarang. Those who were moved were economically poor. They were resettled in an area near Tanjungkarang called "De Gisting" (now Gisting).
The Presence of Catholic Church
The presence of Catholic Church in Lampung was marked by the coming of Dutch Sacred Heart of Jesus Father H.J.D. van Oort on Dec. 16, 1927, to reside permanently in Tanjungkarang. At that time, Tanjungkarang was a resting place for Eurasians. Previously, the Catholics were served by priests of the apostolic vicariate of Palembang, 270 kilometers north of Tanjungkarang.
Father Van Oort got the permit to build a church on a land beside Tanjungkarang market. The church was named Christ The King. The church later became cathedral of Tanjungkarang diocese.
Following the establishment of the church, the Catholics then opened schools, medical service centers, and more mission stations outside Tanjungkarang.
The second mission station was Pringsewu which was served by Father Albertus Hemelink, SCJ, who later became the first bishop of Tanjungkarang.
In the 1930s, more Sacred Heart of Jesus missionary priests began to work among Catholics in Lampung. The priests were based in new towns where the Javanese and the Eurasian migrants lived. The mission stations were Metro (1937), Gisting (1937), Pasuruan, Kalianda (1938). In 1945 there were 1,500 Catholics in Lampung which was still under Palembang apostolic vicariate.
In 1961, Lampung became a diocese with Mgr Albertus Hemelink Gentiaras as the first bishop. The bishop resided in Pringsewu although the cathedral was in Tanjungkarang.
On Dec. 21, 1978, Sacred Heart of Jesus Bishop Andreas Henrisoesanta was appointed as bishop of Tanjungkarang, and he was installed on April 18, 1979. Since then Tanjungkarang became administrative center of the diocese.