The Catholic Church in Indonesia is both old and young. In the seventh century there were already Catholic communities of the Chaldean Rite in
There was a flourishing Portuguese mission in
Eastern Indonesia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
In the year 1900 the number of Catholics in Indonesia was about 50,000. In the course of that century, there came to be thirty-three dioceses and over three million Catholics.
Almost half of these Catholics live on the
Flores, where the Portuguese mission continued unhindered until the area was taken over by the Dutch in 1859.
The first members of the Order of Saint Augustine to reach or to minister in any part of the territory that now comprises the nation of Indonesia happened over 450 years ago.
In 1542 there were four Augustinians aboard the ships of the Spanish nautical expedition from Mexico to the Spice Islands (now part of Indonesia).
The expedition was led by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, and the four Augustinians were Jeronimo de Santisteban O.S.A. (an advisor to Villalobos), Nicolas de Perea O.S.A., Sebastian Reina (or de Trasierra) O.S.A. and Alonso de Alvarado O.S.A.
They were present when the Spanish ships had to surrender to the superior Portuguese forces in the Moluccas (Spice Islands) on 4th November 1545.