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.

Archdiocese of Taunggyi

Brief History

The Archdiocese of Taunggyi where the evangelization works started by PIME Missionaries in the early 19th century, primarily belonged to the Diocese of Taungngu. As the mission territory was far distant and the numbers of the believers were considerable increasing, it was established as a Diocese by Pope John XXIII in 1961, as a Suffragan to the Archdiocese of Yangon. Msgr. J.B. Goabtto, PIME, was elected and ordained as its first Bishop on May 21, 1961 in Rome. Msgr. Matthias U Shwe was consecrated as his Auxiliary Bishop on December 13, 1980 by Msgr. Gobbato with Msgr. Sebatian U Shwe Yauk of Aung Goo and Msgr. A. Than of Kyaington as consecrators. In 1989, the diocese of Loikaw was established by Pope John Paul II carving the southern portion of the territory which comprises of the whole Kayah State and Msgr. Sotero Phamo was consecrated its first bishop. In 1990, Bishop J.B. Gobatto retired and Msgr. Matthias U Shwe succeeded him as Ordinary of Taunggyi and was installed as Ordinary of the diocese by his Grace Msgr. Gabriel Tohey archbishop of Yangon on 12.08.1990. In 1998, the diocese was raised to the archdiocese with Loikaw, Pkhon (erected as diocese in 2005), Taung Ngu and Kyaington as sufragan dioceses. Msgr. Matthias U Shwe was made Archbishop by Pope John Paul II and installed archbishop by Msgr. L. Bressen, Apostolic Delegate for Myanmar. In 2001, Msgr. Peter Hla was made auxiliary bishop of Taunggyi Archdiocese. In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI established the new diocese of Pekhon carving the southern portion of the archdiocese. The new diocese of Pekhon was inaugurated and Msgr. Peter Hla was installed as its first bishop on 1st April 2006 by Msgr. S. Pennancchio, Apostolic Delegate for Myanmar. The Holy See nominated Msgr. Basilio Athai to be Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Taunggyi on June 29, 2008. Msgr. S. Pennancchio, Apostolic Delegate for Myanmar consecrated Msgr. Basilio Athai as Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Taunggyi on 18 Nov. 2008. Msgr. Matthias U Shwe due to health problem retired on 10 April 2015 as ordinary of Taunggyi and Pope Francis made Msgr. Basilio Athai as Administrator of the archdiocese. In June 24, 2016 Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Basilio Athai as Archbishop of Taunggyi and he was installed on Sept 3, 2016 in a beautiful ceremony in St. Joseph Cathedral by the Apostolic Delegate His Grace Msgr. Paul Tschang In-Nam. Archbishop Matthias retired at Marian Shrine in Theinphyan village.


Taunggyi Archdiocese is situated in the Southern Shan State, on the Eastern part of Myanmar. It was established as a Diocese by Pope John XXIII in 1961. After the estab lishment of Loikaw diocese in 1989, and Pekhon diocese on 2005, there are 18 townships in the Diocese. Buddhism is the predominant religion whereas Christianity, animism and a few other religions form minority. Civilly, the Diocese is comprised of 2 zones, namely, Loilem Zone and Taunggyi Zone, and canonically 2 Vicariates: Taunggyi Vicariate and Loilem Vicariate. There are 14 parishes in the Archdiocese: 9 parishes in Loilem Vicariate, 5 parishes in Taunggyi Vicariate.
The diocese was raised to Archdiocese by Pope John Paul II in January, 1998, officiated by Msgr. L. Bressen, the Apostolic Delegate. The Bishop Emeritus J.B. Gobatto, PIME, was called to the Lord on August 6, 1999, and entombed in Taunggyi Cathedral. Msgr. Peter Hla was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Tauggyi Archdiocese on May 10, 2001 and was ordained Bishop on December 15, 2001 by His Excellency Msgr. Adriano Bernardini, the Apostolic Delegate to the Union of Myanmar. Msgr. Basilio Athai was appointed Auxiliary of Taunggyi Archdiocese on June 29, 2008 and was ordained Bishop on Nov 18, 2008 by His Excellency Msgr. S. Pennancchio, Apostolice Delegate for Myanmar. Msgr. Matthias retired on April 10, 2015. Msgr. Basilio Athai was installed archbishop of Taunggyi by the Apostolic Delegate Msgr. Paul Taschang In-Nam and took possession of the archdiocese.




We, as one family of God,
-centered in Christ
– inspired by the Word of Life, and
– nourished by the Eucharist,
As a community of believers, we are interdependent pilgrim Church, united in love (koinonia) and working for the integral evangelization with a faith that does justice (Duc in altum) .


To form discerning Christian community
To celebrate life and faith in meaningful liturgy and worship,
To respond creatively to the needs of the poor and the marginalized,
From KOINONIA (united in mind and heart) to DUC IN ALTUM
(mission adgentes),
To build and promote communal bonds with people of other faiths and cultures.


Overall social targets are:
To provide the basic needs to the displaced, marginalized and the poor
To support the education of the poor and disadvantaged,
To upgrade the level of healthcare,
To improve infrastructure in the rural areas,
To assist private-sector initiatives,
To provide relevant skill-training.

Overall spiritual targets are:
Strengthening the Christian families (numerically, economically and spiritually)
Strengthening of the religious life
Encouraging the community participation
Building Reconciliation and peace and
Gearing towards self-reliance.


Area : 2165.296sqm
Civil population : 1580,000
Catholic population : 6,68
Parishes : 14
Sub-parishes : 3
Priests : 38
Religious Sisters : 66
Man Religious : 9
Catechists : 25
Zetamans (Little Evangelizers) : 10
Major seminarians : 18
Minor seminarians : 18
Little Way Missionary : 20
Catholic Action members : 227
St. Anne’s Association : 259
Catholic Youth members : 434
Holy Childhood members : 579
Legion of Mary : 106

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