The total land area of the diocese is 40,960 square kilometers.
Mawlamyine Diocese consists of 13 townships including Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon state and Dawei as well as Myeik, the capital of Taninthayi Division. The territory is a costal region along the Andaman Sea and bordered by the Mon State in the South, Kayin state in the north and east, and Thailand to the east with the mountains and hills. It spans around 860 kilometers from north to south and about 150 kilometers from east to west.
The total population is 2,703,369. Ethenic groups are Kayin, Mergurian (Burmese), Tavoyan (Burmese), Mon and Mawkin (Sea Gipsies). Most of the Catholics live in the village and rural areas. Buddhism is the dominant religion in the diocese.
Vision of the diocese
Well formed and organized community of disciples striving for future of life
Mission of the diocese
To proclaim the word of God in Christ's lifestyle, who is the way, the truth and the life in line with the beatitudes
To work for peace, harmony and development of all people regardless of race, culture and religion
To assist the human, personal and spiritual growth and development of everyone in the diocese
The languages used in the diocesan territory are Kayin and Burmese (Myanmar). Most of the Catholics live in villages and rural areas. Buddhism is the dominant religion in the Diocese.
Mawlamyine was the headquarters of Southern Burma Mission of Roman Catholic Church from 1830 until 1853. In 1830 the Vicariate of Ava and Pegu, as it was then known ecclesiastically was administered by the priests of Propaganda Fide, the department of the pontifical administration charged with the spread of Catholicism and with the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs in non-Catholic countries, and the Oblates of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Bishop Frederick Cao was consecrated in Rome in 1830. He came to Myanmar in the same year and in 1832, he visited the town of Mawlamyine together with the surrounding villages including Amtherst. The town at the mouth of Salween river, now known as Kyait-kha-mee was detached from the Siamese Mission and made part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Ava and Pegu, to the suggestion of Msgr. Cao to Propaganda Fide during the year 1840. Burma Mission was formally handed over to the society of Oblates of Turin.
Father Faustino Ceretti was consecrated Bishop in Rome in 1842 and the Superior of the Society of the Oblates formally accepted the Pegu and Ava Mission. Bishop Faustino Ceretti and five Oblates priests finally came to Burma. In 1847, the bishop brought the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition to Mawlamyine to take charge of the girls' school and the sisters began their first mission in Burma. Bishop Ceretti passed away in Italy, in 1854.
Father J.B. Balma came to Burma in 1846. He was stationed in Mawlamyine and consecrated Bishop in 1848. The Society of the Oblates handed the Mission over to the Society of the Mission Entrangeres of Paris (MEP) in 1856. Bishop Balma left for Italy in November the same year.
March 30, 1856, Father Paul Bigandet was consecrated in Rome Titular Bishop of Ramatha and Vicar Apostolic of Ava and Pegu. He came to Mawlamyine on April 14, the same year. He proclaimed the Good News there until 1894.
In 1954, the Catholic Hierarchy of Burma (Myanmar) was established by Pope Pius XII, and the Vicariate of Southern Burma was divided into two sections. The larger eastern part of the vicariate became Archdiocese Yangon (Rangoon). Bishop V. Bazin became archbishop and Father Gabriel Thohey Mahn Gaby was consecrated Bishop and auxillary to Bishop V. Bazin in 1965. When Bishop V. Bazin retired from office and returned to France in 1971, Archbishop Gabriel T. Mahn Gaby took over as Metropolitan Archbishop of Yangon.
Bishop Raymond Saw Po Ray was ordained bishop on Dec. 8, 1987. He became the auxiliary bishop of Yangon Archdiocese. He was appointed Bishop of Mawlamyine on March 22, 1993 and installed Bishop of Mawlamyine on May 27, 1993. Maylamyine inclusive of the whole of Taninthayi division and southern Mon state was established with territories taken from the Archdiocese of Yangon and Bishop Raymond Saw Po Ray became the first bishop of Mawlamyine Diocese.
The region has car roads in the coastal area, boats are used on the sea, rivers and creeks.
All tribal cultures are beginning to disappear due to instability, displacements, struggling for livelihood and survival and living with fear.
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.