Islands Under US sovereignty, they make up the Mariana Islands
with Guam, in the SW Pacific: capital, Saipan. The Chalan Kanoa Diocese
was established in 1984. Catholics are 88.8% of the population.
Palau Independent nation in the W
Pacific: capital, Koror. It is under the jurisdiction of the diocese
of the Caroline Islands, Federated States of Micronesia. Catholics are 42% of
Papua New Guinea Independent republic
in the W Pacific, the eastern half of New Guinea, including the nearby islands:
capital, Port Moresby. The region was evangelized by Marists, c.1844.
Competition from Protestant missions followed. Missionaries of the
Sacred Heart arrived in 1882. In 1884 Germany took possession of
the northern region, and Papua, the southern region, became a British
protectorate, which passed to Australian control in 1905. In WWI the
northern region came under Australian control as well. The two regions
were combined in 1949 as Papua New Guinea, which became independent in
1975. The Church suffered reverses with the Japanese occupation in WWII,
and again, from 1989 to 1994, a secessionist movement brought
destruction to churches, schools, and health centers. Recently, there
has been friction between Church and state, with the hierarchy charging
corruption and incompetence, and the government answering with the charge
of inciting civil unrest. Catholics make up 33% of the population.
Samoa, American Unincorporated US territory in
the SW Pacific, consisting of six
small islands: seat of government, Pago Pago, Island of Tutuila. The Samoa-Pago Pago Diocese
was established in 1982. 21% of the population is Catholic.
Samoa, Western Independent state
in the SW Pacific: capital, Apia. Catholic mission
work was begun in 1845. Most missions still operating were established
by 1870. The first
Samoan priest was ordained in 1892. A diocese was established in 1966
and elevated to a metropolitan see in 1982. 16% of the population is Catholic.
Solomon Islands Independent island
group: capital, Honiara, on Guadalcanal. Christianity was introduced by Marists in 1846,
on the Southern Solomons. It was rebuffed with violence from the natives.
A more successful attempt was made in 1898. An apostolic
vicariate was organized in 1912, likewise for the the Western Solomons in 1959.
Mission installations sustained heavy damage during WWII. Catholics are 19% of
Tonga Polynesian monarchy, SW Pacific, of about 150
islands: capital, Nuku'alofa.
Catholicism was introduced by Marists in 1842, some years after Protestant
evangelization had begun. A vicariate was organized in 1937. The
hierarchy was established in 1966, and diplomatic relations with Vatican
in 1994. 14.5% of the population is Catholic.
Tuvalu Independent state consisting of nine islands (formerly
Ellice Islands): capital, Funafuti. Catholics just .01% of the population.
Vanuatu Independent island group in SW Pacific (formerly New
Hebrides): capital, Vila. Evangelization by Catholic missionaries began
in 1887. An
apostolic vicariate was set up in 1904. The hierarchy was established in 1966.
Catholics are 16% of the population.
Wallis and Futuna Islands
French territory in SW Pacific: capital, Mata-Utu. Evangelization
was begun by Marists in
1836. Although the first missionary to Futuna was killed in 1841, the
entire population of both islands was baptized by 1843. The majority of
priests are native Polynesians. 100% of the population is Catholic.