Yangon (former capital) is the largest city in Myanmar. There are altogether 7 States and 7 Divisions. Yangon Archdiocese comprises of the whole of Yangon (Superior) Division, parts of Bago Division and Ayeyawaddy Division. It is bounded with the Dioceses of Hpa-an, Taungngu, Pyay and Pathein. It comprises of the City of Yangon, urban areas, satellite towns and villages, near and remote, including undeveloped places. We can see different races of people, different levels of living standard, different nationalities. It covers an area of 47,192 square kilometers with hills, mountains and fields. According to the 31st December 2015 Statistics, the total number of Catholics in the whole diocese is 58138.
Buddhism is the most dominant religion in the Archdiocese of Yangon. About 6% of the population is Christians, 89% are Buddhists and 3.8% are Muslims, 0.5% is Hindus and 0.2% are animists. Of the Christian population, 30% are Catholics. In the entire Myanmar, there are about 700,000 Catholics. Out of this number 58138 live in Yangon Diocese. This means that about 13% of the entire Catholic population of Myanmar live in Yangon Archdiocese. There are 47 parishes comprising around 350 villages.
In 1954 the Catholic Hierarchy of Burma (Myanmar) was established by Pope Pius XII, and the Vicariate of Southern Burma was further divided. The larger eastern portion of the Vicariate became the Archdiocese of Rangoon (Yangon). The western portion, comprising the three districts of Bassein (Pathein), Myaungmya and Henzada was erected into the diocese of Bassein (Pathein). Presently there are 4 Suffragan Dioceses in the Archdiocese of Yangon: Pathein Diocese, Pyay Diocese, Mawlamyine Diocese and Pha-an Diocese.
Archbishop Victor Bazin was appointed as the head of the Archdiocese of Rangoon in 1954. On the 19th June 1971, Archbishop Victor Bazin retired and returned to France in the same year. Archbishop Gabriel Thohey Mahn-Gaby succeeded him as the Archbishop of Rangoon. On the 28th September 2002, Archbishop Gabriel Thohey Mahn-Gaby retired and Bishop Sotero Phamo (Bishop of Loikaw diocese) was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Yangon. On 24 May 2003, His Holiness Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Charles Bo as the Archbishop of Yangon. He was installed on 7 June 2003 as the Archbishop of Yangon by His Excellency Msgr. Adriano Bernardini, the Apostolic Delegate to the Union of Myanmar.
On 16 July 2007, Fr. Justin Saw Min Thide was announced as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Yangon. Episcopal ordination was held on 2 December 2007. At the request and application of Archbishop Charles Bo, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI created a new diocese of Hpa-an divided from the Archdiocese of Yangon and Bishop Justin Saw Min Thide was appointed as its ordinary on 24 January 2009. The establishment of the Diocese of Hpa-an and the installation of Bishop Justin Saw Min Thide as its ordinary was celebrated on 3 December 2009. It was officiated by H.G. Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Delegate to Myanmar.
On 4 January 2015, Archbishop Charles Bo was announced 1st Cardinal of Myanmar by His Holiness Pope Francis and the consistory took place on 14 February 2015 at St. Peter’s Balilica, Rome. At the request of His Eminence Charles Cardinal Bo, Pope Francis announced a new Auxiliary Bishop, named John Saw Yaw Han for the Archdiocese of Yangon. He was ordained Bishop by Cardinal Charles Bo on 12 April 2015.
Statistics (According to December 2015)
- Area in sq. klm : 47,192
- Civil Population : 12,000,000 (+)
- Catholic Population : 58,138
- Parishes : 47
- Bishops : 2
- Priests : 112
- Major Seminarians : 47
- Minor Seminarians : 18
- Catechists : 86
- Religious Congregations : 30
- Men Religious : 30
- Women Religious : 371