Catholic Church in Macau

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St. Dominic's Church, Macau

The Catholic Church in Macau is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.The history of Catholic church in Macau can traced back to 1576 under the leadership of the Pope. Catholic church in Macau was built not only with the purpose of prayers and atonement but also as rally point for Portuguese to gather up and act as a midway for missionaries going to deeper part of China and south east Asia. The Catholic church within Macau has played an important role on the spread of Catholicism in Japan, Vietnam and China and other parts of south east Asia. The Catholic church in Macau has provided schooling, missionary training and preaching the gospel to the local catholic and non-catholic communities. There are around 30,000 Catholics in Macau (around 5% of the total population), which forms a single diocese, the Diocese of Macau. The current Bishop of Macau is Stephen Lee Bun-sang (since 2016).

Church In Macau [1]
St. Lazarus Church
St. Anthony's Church
St. Lawrence's Church
Our Lady of Fatíma's Church
Our Lady of Mount Carmel's Church
St. Francis Xavier's Church
St. Francis Xavier's Church (Coloane)
St. Joseph the Worker's Church
St. Dominic's Church
St. Augustine's Church


The Macau Diocese was established in 1576 by Pope Gregory XIII, one of the first diocese created in south East Asia. The earliest diocese in south East Asia, the diocese of Beijing was established in mainland China in the Yuan dynasty in 1307 under the order of Pope Clement V. Then, in 1313, Quanzhou Diocese was established. Despite the vigor of the two dioceses, the work in mainland China has unfortunately stalled due to the lack of missionaries.[2] In early years, the Macau Diocese was the head diocese for major parts of south East Asia, including China, Korea, Japan, Northern Vietnam, and all the islands around South East Asia. Since the establishment of the Macao Diocese, the saints of the Macao Diocese are St. Catherine and St. Francis Xavier of Siena, showing the missionary characteristics of the area[3] In addition to spreading the gospel, the diocese is also responsible for scientific exchanges and research. According to the knowledge and virtue of the papal motto, there is also the responsibility to promote Catholic morality. In addition to the Jesuits, many others established their own institutions in Macau between the 16th and 17th centuries, such as the Franciscans, Augustus, Dominicans, and Sister St. Clair.[1] From the outset, the parish had to obey the appointed colonial leader- the Portuguese Padroado that led to the government over interference in religious affairs and often created friction between the parish and the Portuguese[4]

Bishop of Macau
D. José Lai Hung Seng (2003-2015)
D. Domingos Lam (1988-2003)
D. Arquimínio Rodrigues da Costa (1976-1983)
D. Paulo José Tavares (1961-1973)
D. Policarpo da Costa Vaz (1954-1960)
D. João de Deus Ramalho, S.J. (1942-1954)
D. José da Costa Nunes(1920-1940)
D. João Paulino de Azevedo e Castro(1902-1918)
D. José Manuel de Carvalho(1897-1902)
D. António Joaquim de Medeiros(1884-1897)
D. Manuel Bernardo de Sousa Enes(1873-1883)
D. Jerónimo José da Mata, C.M.(1845-1862)
D. Nicolau Rodrigues Pereira de Borja, C.M.(1841-1845)
D. Francisco de Nossa Senhora da Luz Chacim, O.F.M.(1804-1828)
D. Manuel de São Galdino, O.F.M.(1802-1804)
D. Marcelino José da Silva(1789-1803)
D. Alexandre da Silva Pedrosa Guimarães(1772-1789)
D. Bartolomeu Manuel Mendes dos Reis(1752-1772)
D. Hilário de Santa Rosa, O.F.M.(1739-1752)
D. Eugénio Trigueiros, O.S.A. (1735-1739)
D. João de Casal (1690-1735)
D. Diogo Correia Valente, S.J.(1630-1633)

Connection to different parts of Asia[edit]

The church in colonial Macau was used by missionaries as a starting point to travel to different parts of Southeast Asia. After a long journey from Europe, the missionaries took Macau as an important rest stop. In addition, Macau has also been used as a base for evangelism in Japan, mainland China and other parts of Southeast Asia.[5] The Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, and the Jesuits have transformed a traditional fishing village into a religious city where named “the City of the Name of God” by King of Portugal John IV in 1640[3] The pioneer Jesuit to South East Asia Alessandro Valignano, completed most of his establishments in Macau including organizing Jesuit mission to South East Asia and the establishment of a missionary school. In 1594, he founded the St. Paul's College. The college is not only a missionary school, but also a place for cultural and scientific exchanges between Southeast Asia and Europe. The school has been running for nearly two centuries. It was closed in 1762 when the Jesuits were ordered to disband and expelled from the diocese.[2] In 1835, St. Paul Church, a marvelous church that was built next to the college was destroyed because of a fire. The church then be gutted by fire twice and never restored. What remains now is the famous ruins of St. Paul. Its facade has become a symbol of Macau.[6]

Pioneer missionary to mainland China[edit]

In 1583, Michele Ruggieri and Matteo Ricci were dispatched by Alessandro Valignano from Macau to mainland China, trying to reverse the long failing missionary mission.[2] In 1576, Pope Gregory xiii separated Macau from the Malacca and empowered the diocese with jurisdiction over most of South East Asia including Japan, China and the islands close by.[6] The jurisdiction was then shrunk by the erection the diocese in Japan and mainland China, yet these dioceses were short lived. In 1588, the diocese of Funai was established in Japan. In 1690, Beijing and Nanjing dioceses were established in mainland China. In 1710, the imprison papal legate Charles-Thomas Maillard de Tournon died in Macau. After his unsuccessful trip to China trying to settle the controversial conflicts between Chinese traditions and catholic beliefs.[4] The Arrival of Protestant Missionaries. In 1807 the first Protestant missionary arriving in Macau Robert Morrison.[7] His work of translating the Bible into Chinese was a huge boost in promoting Christianity in China. In 1819 the first ever Chinese bible was completed [7] From the very beginning, Catholic churches opposed the new coming Protestant. Today the Protestant community in Macau remains small.[8]


After 400 years, the size of the Macau diocese has reduced as different dioceses were established in areas of mainland China yet the numbers of organization and institution set up by the catholic church of Macau have grown and developed. The jurisdiction of the Macao Diocese covers the territory of Macao with 9 parishes. Each parish is led by a Dean nominated by the bishop of Macau. There are a total 31 educational institutions, and 23 social service institutions established and run by different parishes.[9] What's more, it also has a social exchange center, publishing agency and pastoral center for teenagers and elders. There are about 80 priests and brother, 199 sisters in the diocese.[1]

Connection to society[edit]

Catholic Church in Macau has been associated with the ruling class, the Portuguese has also been using Catholic Church to monitor the social situation in Macau since Catholic church in Macau are deeply engaged in the society in return Catholic church in Macau are given different level of privileges and convenience.Therefore created a complex relationship between the Portuguese, Catholic church and the Macau society.

Catholic Schooling[edit]

There are currently 25 high schools, 2 missionary school, 1 university and 1 conservatory run by the Catholic Church in Macau. Most of them are originally established by Catholic church and run until now. The earliest school established is a missionary school in 1594 The St. Paul college. In 1728 the St.Joseph college was established by the Jesuits an attempt to increase the number of missionary. During the stay in the missionary school the trainees has to learn much more only than gospel. Therefore, the St.Paul college and the St Joseph has cultivated the first bunches of bilingual speakers. Added to that the compile of dictionary and the creation of a brand new Chinese-English learning method had laid the foundation of running schools. In modern times Catholic schools are facing different challenges as Catholic church tries implement the rather conservative old fashioned Catholic principle into education against the new generation and the gradually raising open minded society. Added on that Catholic education in Macau is operating in a city that catholic is no longer the mainstream religion and it has highly commercialized.

Schools currently run by Catholic church
Names in Portuguese[1] English translation
Colégio Diocesano de São José St. Joseph Secondary School[10]
Colégio Diocesano de São José (Quinto Edifício) St. Joseph Secondary School (5)[10]
Colégio Diocesano de São José (Sexta escola) St. Joseph Secondary School (6)[10]
Escola São Paulo Saint Paul School[11]
Escola de Santa Teresa do Menino Jesus Santa Teresa School[12]
Escola de Santa Madalena Santa Madalena School[13]
Escola Dom João Paulino Bishop João Paulino School[14]
Colégio Mateus Ricci Mateus Ricci College[15]
Colégio Estrela do Mar
Instituto Salesiano
Colégio Yuet Wah Yuet Wah College[16]
Colégio Dom Bosco (Yuet Wah) College of Bishop Bosco (Yuet Wah) [17]
Escola D. Luís Versiglia-Ká Hó D. Luís Versiglia-Ká Hó School [18]
Colégio do Sagrado Coração de Jesus (Chinese Section) Sacred Heart Canossian College (Chinese Section)[19]
Colégio do Sagrado Coração de Jesus (English Section) Sacred Heart Canossian College (English Section)[19]
Colégio de Santa Rosa de Lima (Chinese Section) Santa Rosa de Lima College (Chinese Section)[20]
Colégio de Santa Rosa de Lima (English Section) Santa Rosa de Lima College (English Section)[20]
Colégio do Perpétuo Socorro Chan Sui Ki Chan Sui Ki Perpetual Help College[21]
Colégio do Perpétuo Socorro Chan Sui Ki (Sucursal) Chan Sui Ki Perpetual Help College ( Branch )[22]
Escola de São José, Ká-Hó Ka-Ho St. Jose School[23]
Escola de Santa Maria Mazzarello Santa Maria Mazzarello School [24]
Escola de Nossa Senhora de Fátima Our Lady of Fatima Girls's School[25]
Escola da Sagrada Família Santa Family School
Seminário Diocesano de São José St. Joseph's Seminary[26]
Universidade de São José University of St Joseph[27]
Academia de Música São Pio X St Pio X Academy of Music[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "天主教澳門教區 · DIOCESE DE MACAU". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  2. ^ a b c Tang, Kaijian (2016-01-01). Setting Off from Macau. BRILL. doi:10.1163/9789004305526. ISBN 978-90-04-30552-6.
  3. ^ a b Collis, Maurice (Apr 1, 1951). "MACAO: THE CITY OF THE NAME OF GOD". History Today. 1 (4): 42 – via USYD Library.
  4. ^ a b Jenkins, Robert C. (Robert Charles), 1815-1896, author. The Jesuits in China and the Legation of Cardinal de Tournon : an examination of conflicting evidence and an attempt at an impartial judgement. OCLC 1103533689.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Moran, J. F. (2014). The japanese and the jesuits: alessandro valignano in sixteenth century japan. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-75607-5. OCLC 960085048.
  6. ^ a b Boxer, C. R. (January 1938). "Japanese Christians buried in the Jesuit College Church of Sao Paulo at Macau". Monumenta Nipponica. 1 (1): 265. doi:10.2307/2382456. ISSN 0027-0741. JSTOR 2382456.
  7. ^ a b Starr, J. Barton (April 1998). "The Legacy of Robert Morrison". International Bulletin of Missionary Research. 22 (2): 73–76. doi:10.1177/239693939802200208. ISSN 0272-6122.
  8. ^ "Vatican meeting fails to iron out China issues". South China Morning Post. 2010, March 24. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ de Robertis, Corrado; Morrison, Keith (October 2009). "Catholic schooling, identity and social justice in Macau". International Studies in Catholic Education. 1 (2): 152–169. doi:10.1080/19422530903138044. ISSN 1942-2539.
  10. ^ a b c "Colégio Diocesano de São José 5 Macau (Secção Inglesa) - St. Joseph Secondary School 5 Macao (English Section) - 澳門聖若瑟教區中學第五校 (英文部)". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  11. ^ "Home | 澳門聖保祿學校 Saint Paul School, Macau". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  12. ^ "澳門聖德蘭學校". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  13. ^ "聖瑪大肋納學校". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  14. ^ "首頁 - 聖善學校-ESCOLA DOM JOAO PAULINO". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  15. ^ "首頁 - Colegio Mateus Ricci". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  16. ^ "澳 門 粵 華 中 學 - Yuet Wah College, Macau". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  17. ^ "鮑思高粵華小學" (in Chinese). Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  18. ^ "雷鳴道主教紀念學校". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  19. ^ a b "Home". Sacred Heart Canossian College (in Chinese). Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  20. ^ a b "Colegio de Santa Rosa de Lima(English Secondary)". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  21. ^ 陳瑞祺永援中學. "陳瑞祺永援中學". 陳瑞祺永援中學. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  22. ^ "母佑會陳瑞祺永援中學(分校)" (in Chinese). Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  23. ^ "澳門九澳聖若瑟學校". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  24. ^ "聖瑪沙利羅學校". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  25. ^ "化地瑪聖母女子學校". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  26. ^ "St. Joseph's Seminary and Church - Macao Government Tourism Office". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  27. ^ Rocheleau, Jake. "USJ - University of Saint Joseph". USJ. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  28. ^ "Arquivo de Macau". Retrieved 2020-05-28.

External links[edit]