Pope Francis is making the historical visit to Myanmar on 27-30 November 2017. This is the very first time that a Pope visits the country which has less than 700,000 Catholics, about 1.2% of the total population.

Diocese of PYAY (Prome)

pyayThe history of the Diocese of PYAY (Prome) dates back to the early times when the Portuguese introduced Christianity to the Rakhine (Arakan) State in 16 century.  Dominicans and Jesuits were the first pioneers who worked hard in these areas.  There were also the Augustinian Fathers and the Theatine Fathers who spent much of their zeal and energy but without much success.  From 1785 to 1852 no missionary work was possible and very little hope was left.  In 1834 West Bengal was erected into a Vicariate and it included Rakhine (Arakan).

In 1850 Rakhine (Arakan) was restored to Myanmar (Burma) Ecclesiastically under Bishop Balma, the Vicar Apostolic of Ava and Bago (Pegu).  In 1870, Rakhine (Arakan) came again under Indian territory as part of the diocese of Dacca.  The Holy Cross Fathers worked in Rakhine (Arakan) from 1870 to 1875.  In 1918, with the end of the World War I the Holy Cross Fathers resumed the Rakhine (Arakan) apostolate.  Sandoway (Thandwe) was opened about 1922 and Gyeitkaw in 1928.  In 1927 Chittagon became a separate Diocese from Dacca.  Ten years later in 1937, the mission was handed over to the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette from the United States.

In 1940 the Prefecture Apostolic of Akyab (Sittwe) was erected with Fr. Thomas Newman appointed as its first Prefect Apostolic.  Later on with the approval of Rome the La Salette Missionaries took charge of the Prome (Pyay)- Thayet area and in 1958 Prome (Pyay) became the center and the name also was changed into the Prefecture Apostolic of Prome (Pyay).  In 1961, Prome (Pyay) became a Diocese and Msgr. Thomas Newman became its first Bishop.  He was consecrated by Pope John XXIII in Rome on the 21st of May 1961.

The La Salette Fathers withdrew from the Mission in 1976 and the administration of  the Diocese was handed over to the diocesan Clergy with Bishop Joseph Thaung Shwe as the head of the Diocese.  In 1985, Fr Gregory Taik Maung was consecrated as Bishop and became the Administrator of the Diocese. On July 16, 2010, Archbishop Charles Bo, bishop of Yangon Archdiocese continued to lead Pyay diocese as the Apostolic Administrator until the diocese has a new bishop. Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho was chosen from the clergy of Pyay diocese as bishop of Pyay, and was consecrated at Pyay on Feb. 27, 2011.

General Statistics:

  •              Area in sq.kilometers          :           80,937.5
  •             Civil Population                     :           9,037,000
  •             Catholic Population               :           26,100
  •             Parishes & Quasi-Parishes   :           21
  •             Priests                                      :           44
  •             Religious Houses                   :           25
  •             Men Religious                        :           6
  •             Women Religious                 :           83
  •             Catechists                               :           88
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