Mawlamyine was the headquarter of the Southern Burma Mission of the Roman Catholic Church from 1830 until 1853. In the 1830 the Mission of Ava and Pegu, as was then known ecclesiastically, was administered by the priests of the progaganda 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. In 1832 the town of Mawlamyine together with the surrounding villages including Amherst, at the mouth of the Salween was detached from the Siamese Mission and made over to the Vicar Apostolic of Ava and Pegu, at the suggestion of Msgr. Cao to the Sacred Congregation during the course of the year 1840. Burma Mission was formally made over to the Society of the Oblates of Turin. Rev. Faustino Ceretti was consecreted Bishop in Rome in 1842 and the Superior of the Society of the Oblates formally accepted the Pegu and Ava Mission and Msgr. Faustino Ceretti and five Oblate priests came to Burma. In 1847, he 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. Msgr. Ceretti passed away in Italy in 1854.
Rev. J.B. Balma arrived in Burma in 1846, stationed in Mawlamyine, consecrated Bishop in 1848. The Society of the Oblates handed the Mission to the Society of the Missions Entrangeres in Paris (MEP) in 1856 and Bishop Balma left Mawlamyine for Italy in November in the same year.
In 1856 March 30th, Fr. Bigandet was consecrated titular Bishop of Ramatha and Vicar Apostolic of Ava and Pegu. Bishop Bigandet left Penang on April 4th 1856, arrived in Mawlamyine on 14th April. After 25 days in Mawlamyine Bishop Bigandet started to visit, travelling, praying, learning, witnessing, proclaiming coutinually until 1894. In the year 1859, Fr. Ducoty contrived to obtain the valuable assistance of the Christian Brothers for keeping up the Boys’ School in Mawlamyine.
- Bishop Alexander Cadot : 1893 – 1925
- Bishop Felix Perroy : 1925 – 1931
- Bishop Frederick Provost : 1931 – 1952
- Bishop Victor Bazin (ad Vicar Apostolic) : 1953
- Archbishop Victor Bazin : 1954 – 1971
- Archbishop Gabriel Thohey Mahn Gaby : 1971 – 1993
- Bishop Raymond Saw Po Ray : 1993 –
When the hierarchy was established in Myanmar by Pope Pius XII, in 1954, the Vicariate of Southern Burma was divided into the Archdiocese of Yangon and diocese of Pathein. Bishop V. Bazin became Archbishop and Bishop Gabriel Thohey Mahn Gaby was consecrated Bishop and auxiliary 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 December 8,1987, as the auxiliary to the Archbishop of Yangon. He was appointed Bishop of Mawlamyine Diocese on March 22, 1993 and installed on May 27,1993. Mawlamyine Diocese inclusive of the whole Taninthayi Division and southern Mon State was established with territories taken from Yangon Archdiocese and Bishop Raymond Saw Po Ray became the First Residential Bishop of Mawlamyine Diocese.
The Diocese of Mawlamyine consists of Southern helf of Mon State and the whole Taninthayi Division . The Diocese is bordering Paan Diocese in the North, Thailand in the East and to the west Mataban, and Indian Ocean. The area of the Diocese is 40964 squaure Kilometers. Burmese, Karen, Mon and Mawkin, Indians, Chinese, Siamese and Malays recide in the Diocese. Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and traditional religion can be seen in the diocese.
In 1996-1998 there was major militay operation againts the insurgent groups in the regions of the diocese and also in many other parts of the country along Myanmar Thai border regions. A bout two third of the villages in the region were effceted. Resettliment took a long time. Many displaced moved out of the country and some inside the country. Some displaced villages could not go back to there former villager sites till the present, 2011. In 2004 15th May on Pentecost Sunday Theget Parish was established by Bishop Raymond Saw Po Rayand Bo Taung Parish was born in 23rd December 2009 as a new parishes of the Diocese.
After 15 years of establishment, first Diocesan Synod was held in 2008 December from 4th to 11, in the Diocesan Centre in Mawlamyine. The theme ” Thy will be done” (Mt 6: 10) high-lights the whole Synodal events, the short history and the journey of Mawlamyine Diocese.
Vision, Mission and Planning were drawn. Three spheres, God, Social and personal centred activeties and programmes for all (15) commissions were decided and agreed upon to be implemented in (5) years.
Now that, we are in the 3rd year of our Diocesean Synod, 2011, we are in the first phase for reflection and evaluation. On the (19-21) August 2011 after the Assumption feast in Myeik. We have workshop for strategical pastoral and Social planning for three years, till 2014. Needed changes and restrengthening of the activities and implementation in three sectors. 3W – The word + Worship + Witness were made.
” THY WILL BE DONE”
Holistically integrated development of all creation, witnessing the Gospel Values in Faith, Hope, and Love.
- To assist people to live a life in God and to engage in the Word of God and Sacraments.
- To assist people for human personal growth.
- To work for integral social development of people.
- Area in Sq. klm. : 40,960
- Civil Population : 2,910,837
- Catholic Population : 10,500
- Parishes : 13
- Mission Centers : 9
- Priests : 30
- Men Religious : –
- Women Religious : 40
- Catechists : 56
- Home Missioners : 175
- Seminarians : 3