Welcome to the Diocese of Willemstad
What and Where Are We ...
The Diocese of Willemstad comprises the Dutch Caribbean territories of Aruba and The Netherlands Antilles (West Indies). The islands are: Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, these ABC islands are on the southern part of the Caribbean and the SSS islands of St. Maartin, St. Eustatius, and Saba are part of the Leeward Islands on the north. On the bigger island of Curaçao, considered the capital of the Netherlands Antilles, is where the Bishop resides and consequently the Seat (Cathedral) of the Diocese. Curacensis was the latin name of the Prefecture Apostolic of Curaçao as it was erected in 1752. It became a Vicariate on 20 September 1842. This Diocese status was granted on 28 April 1958. The Metropolitan is the Archdiocese of Port of Spain (Trinidad).
Visit our papiamentu version: Diosesis Willemstad
Our Vision and Mission ...
"We, who form the (Roman) Catholic Church of Antilles and Aruba, are a community of believers who want to make visible in our world and time, Jesus Christ, Who proclaimed the Good News to the poor, the oppressed and the afflicted, and brought joy and hope to a world that has lost its course. We want to live a life: that is dedicated to the construction of a civilization of love, in justice and solidarity; that is open to the involvement of all peoples within our community to work in mutual cooperation and communion; that allows growth of the knowledge of Christ and his message; and invites us to total conversion; and with the power of the Holy Spirit, makes us worthy to commit ourselves to a life of service, reflected in the FAITH we proclaim and celebrate. May Mother Mary, our intercessor and model, continue to guide us on the road leading us to accomplish our goal".
THE DIOCESE OF WILLEMSTAD, HER FIFTIETH; 1958-2008 "Six Islands One in Christ"
On the 28th of April 1958, Pope Pius XII elevated the Apostolic Vicariate of Curaçao to a diocese. It was those years; 1957 and 1958, when all the vicariates in the Caribbean became dioceses.
Monsignor Johannes Michael Holterman O.P. wrote in his statement of 28 June 1958: " Our Vicariate has become autonomous. The bishop, as a successor of the Apostles, who continue the task instituted by Christ himself, will do the same to accomplish his work with due authority under the primacy of the Pope of Rome. During those 116 years of existence, the Vicariate has developed in such a manner that it now possesses what is needed and worthy to be elevated as a Diocese".
On a saturday, 18th of October, the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, Monsignor Holterman was installed as the first Bishop of Willemstad. It was noted that Mons. Holterman asked the permission from Rome to take the Church of Pietermaai (Punda) as the new Cathedral church instead of the pro-cathedral Sta. Ana. This Sta. Ana Church (Otrobanda) however, became a Basilica in 1975.
Sunday, 19th of October, Monsignor Holterman celebrated his first Pontifical Mass at the new Catherdral of Pietermaai. On this same date at the Ref Stadium, with the presence of the catholic populace of Curaçao, was celebrated the Consecration of the new Diocese of Willemstad to MARY:"The Immaculate Conception"
Therefore, on the year of Our Lord 2008, the Diocese of Willemstad celebrated her fiftieth.
Last October (16,17&18) 2008 was held the Diocesan Conference in Curacao. It was the next necessary step that must be taken to pursue the "Vision" of unity in Christ among the six-sister islands of the Diocese. After going through the process of inquiry, consultations, pre-conferences and lots of meetings, finally we came up with a working paper for the Conference which would become the final draft of the Diocesan Plan. The document after thorough examination and careful text-editing (so as not to change the essence of what was discussed and agreed upon) came out to be valuable guide for all pastors and pastoral cooperators in the parishes. It is our ardent hope and prayer that this paper: "Mission 2008-2011" will be the direction we as a diocese will pursue, with the "Wind" of the Holy Spirit pushing the sails of our effort in the mission of taking care of the least of Christ's brothers and sisters, and in doing so we too will become real disciples and missionaries of Him.
On the Feast of Christ the King: The document was presented to all people during the Solemn Celebration of the closing of the Jubilee Year. The paper came out in Papiamentu, Dutch and in English.
SEIS ISLA, UN DEN KRISTU SIX ISLANDS, ONE IN CHRIST ZES EILANDEN, ÉÉN IN CHRISTUS. The Mission 2008-2011
The diocese took the opportunity of the celebration of the Golden Jubilee to reflect on her faith and participation in the life of the Church and to work on the Diocesan Mission 2008-2011, according to the guidelines of the Aparecida Document and the Continental Mission therein.
Points for reflection and in-depth exploration are, i.a.:
1. how to strengthen our faith and our responsibility to fulfill the mission;
2. how to help our Catholic believers to realize a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, through the Word of God, the Eucharist, with the preferential option for the poor and those excluded from society;
3. how about building up of a community at the parish level, with apostolic groups and the family, each one promoting a great sense of belonging;
4. On how to implement the pastoral methodology for greater communion and stronger missionary character.
Objective of Mission 2008-2011
In their message to the V General Episcopal Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, to all the people of their region, the bishops have called upon all of us to realize with enthusiasm the Continental Mission. The goal of the continental mission is to achieve a new evangelization;
to profit from the current moment of grace;
by invoking the Holy Spirit to inspire anew our Christian communities;
by awakening the vocation and missionary action of those baptized in Christ;
and to go out and encounter Him in all persons, families, communities and peoples, and as we communicate and share the presence of the encounter with Christ, this gives meaning to our lives.
To reach concrete results, the Continental Mission has to be translated into a Diocesan Mission, that is a pastoral plan for more years in a diocese.
In our diocese we have chosen a period of three years to start with, under the name of Diocesan Plan MISSION 2008 – 2011.
The Diocese of Willemstad
wishes to convey
its message of sincerest gratitude and appreciation
specially to all our faithful and the persons, groups and companies that responded to our urgent appeal for help with such an immense generosity.
Rest assured that your constant financial contribution will enable us to continue realizing our various projects like the necessary maintenance of our parish churches and rectories.
God bless and reward your generosity!
Wishing you all a New Year filled with hope, health and happiness.
Most Reverend Luis Antonio Secco
Bishop - Diocese Willemstad
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