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Nov 3, 2019 Written by 

History of Catholics in Saint Joseph Parish Be the first to comment!

The beginning

Tanjung Balai Karimun region  was started on May 18th , 1935, when Father Engelmund Tromp SS.CC began to settled in Tanjung Balai and began his mission to serve people on Karimun Island and the surrounding islands (Sugi Bawah, Kundur and also Ketaman / Indragiri).

Before becoming as a permanent region, Tanjung Balai was included in the Riau Islands region and it was led by father Isfried Meijer SS.CC who was lived in Singapore.

A school was built there (Tanjung Balai)  by  Father P. Meijer (1930). On November 14th, 1933, Vitus Bouma SS.CC was inaugurated the church and temporary presbytery. The were 20  students at that time.

There was a diligent catechist teacher and at the same time he became a principal. There was a dormitory with 60 students. The catechists and the students were increasing fast. Tanjung Balai is seen as a promising place for a bright future

Next capther (1935 - 1945)

  • The Mission Buildings in Tanjung Balai must be expanded. So it was decided to rebuild the church building and another mission buildings in Moro and the used materials can be reused to expand schools and building churches in Tanjung Balai. The Catholics in Moro were started lost because of the Malaria many of them were moved to another island.
  • In 1936 Brother AntoniusBruijns SS.CC began to reconstructedthe Mission building in Moro and he was rebuilt schools and churchesin Tanjung Balai. The inauguration of the new building at Tanjung Balai was held on June 22, 1936.
  • There was a new school in Tanjung Balaiwith 611 students, 400 men and 211 women. At that time,  thedevelopment of Catholic School was not easy,  they has many obstacles. One of them was contradicted to the existence of  Chinese School and it reached its peak in 1938.
  • In 1936, P. Dionysius van Gorp SS.CC came to Tanjung Balai to help P. Tromp SS.CC. He was assigned to visits the areas outside Karimun included in the Riau Islands region :Tanjung Pinang, Sambu Island and Singkep Island. Once a month, P. van Gorp visits the people who still survive in Moro and also  inKundur Island. He  also visited the people in the Kateman area (Indragiri) on the island of Sumatra which is very difficult to travel.
  • In September 1937,P. van Gorp SS.CC was chosen as Superior SS.CC Mission, in October P. van Gorp SS.CC moved to Pangkalpinang. PLebuinusSpelthuis SS.CC was replaced him, to visited people on  theoutside  of Karimun islands and  also teaches English at the Tanjung Balai school.
  • If in 1935-1936 there were many Chinese Catechumens in Tanjung Balai then in the following years the number of Catechumens had fallen sharply because many of them had stopped and canceled to being catholic.
  • Their main motivation to be baptized firstly they were thought that the priests could help them in their affairs with the government, they were disappointed because they finally realized that the Dutch pastors were not government officials or employees who could expedite their affairs.
  • Because the presbytery at Tanjung Balai was temporary and inadequate, in August 1938 the construction of a new rectory began. P. Ladislaus van Gelder SS. CC was brought in from Pangkalpinang specifically to watched the construction. This new presbytery was inaugurated on February 5th, 1939. After completing his task of watched the construction of P. van Gelder SS.CC, he left for China to learn Chinese.
  • Meanwhile P. Spelthuis SS.CC moved to Singapore. He was there as long as the city of Singapore was bombed many times by Japanese planes, passing negotiations between the Dutch East Indies and its allies against Japan on December 8th, 1941. After thatthe bishop of Singapore recommended him to moved to Java, during the war he was in a Japanese prison camp on Java, first in Yogyakarta then moved to Cimahi and Baros (September 1943-September 1945)
  • Singapore fell into Japanese on February 15th , 1942. One month later, on March 5th , 1942, Japanese landed on Karimunjawa Island and also bought a rectory and a church. The priests were made prisoners of the city but in middle of March they were still given permission to visit Catholics in Moro.
  • On March 27th , 194,  P. van der Westen SS.CC returned from his community visit to Moro just as the Japanese army were caught all the priests atTanjung Balai and took them  to Singapore.
  • at night, the three pastors of Tanjung Balai arrived in Singapore, they are;  P. Tromp SS.CC, P. Zaat SS.CC and P. van der Westen SS.CC. Until the war was over (1945) the 3 priests were held in the Singapore Prisoner Camp. As long as the priests were arrested. The church in Balai was led by a diligent catechist who always helped people to pray in the church.

After World War II (1945 - 1951)

  • P. Tromp SS.CC after being released from the Japanese prison camp in Singapore he was  immediately returned to Tanjung Balai Karimun. On October 9th, 1945 P. Tromp SS.CC arrived and stayed at Tanjung Balai.
  • In the beginning of  1946 P. van der Westen SS.CC returned to Tanjung Balai from Singapore. While P. Zaat SS.CC did not return to Tanjung Balai, he was assigned to help the rest of the missionaries on Bangka Island because many of them did not survived from the Japanese Prisoner Camp, there were 10 SS.CC missionaries in Bangka Belitung who died in the Japanese Prisoner Camp during the war including Prefect Mgr Vitus Bouma SS.CC.
  • In 1946 P. Tromp SS.CC was chosen to be the Superior Mission of the SS.CC and based in Pangkalpinang. He left his post at Tanjung Balai to move to Bangka. The chief pastor at Tanjung Balai Karimun P. Gabriel van der Westen SS.CC.
  • In the end of October 1946, five young SS.CC missionaries from the Netherlands came to help the priests in the Apostolic Prefecture of Banka e Biliton. Two of them were moved to Tanjung Balai Karimun, they are P. Charles Dorren SS.CC and P. Harry van Dijk SS.CC.
  • In the beginning of 1947 the school in Tanjung Balai reopened and the headmaster was the Religion Teacher. Early in 1949, the School of Mission with English was reopened but  inthe following year it was closed because of not many of students were interested.
  • Moro, who had been closed in 1936 because of Malaria, finally  in 1949, reopened by placing a priest there. So in 1949 Moro Stasi was formed with the priest P. van Dijk SS.CC who lived there. P. Gabriel vdWesten SS.CC moved to Tanjung Pinang Station in 1949 and became the chief priest there.
  • Years 1949 - 1954 P. Edmund Corijn SS.CC served in Tanjung Balai Karimun. August 1949 is celebrated throughout the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Apostolic Prefecture Banka e Biliton. The festive celebration was centered in Pangkalpinang with the attendance of the Apostolic Delegate in Jakarta, Mgr de Jonghed'Ardoye.

During the Apostolic Vicariate of Pangkalpinang (1951 - 1961)

  • On February 8, 1951 the Apostolic Prefecture of Bangka Billiton was upgraded to the Apostolic Vicariate of Pangkalpinang.
  • P. van der Westen SS.CC a pastor of the Tanjung Pinang Head was chosen to be the first Apostolic Vicar. The ceremony ordination of Bishop P. van der Westen SS.CC was held in Pangkalpinang on May 20, 1951.
  • In 1951, P. Dorren SS.CC moved from Tanjung Balai to Moro to become the pastor of the Moro station, replacing P. van Dijk SS.CC who moved to Tanjung Pinang.
  • In 1951 - 1954 P. Isidorus van der Burgt SS.CC as a new missionary, he began to serving in Tanjung BalaiKarimun, then moved to Tanjung Pinang.
  • In 1954 P. Corijn SS.CC moved from Tanjung Balai to Pangkalpinang, to handle an intermediate seminary. Whereas P. van Dijk SS.CC returned to Tanjung Balai and served until 1956, then moved again to Tanjung Pinang.
  • P. Wilem de Bruin SS.CC served in Tanjung Balai Karimun in 1954 - 1963, then moved again to Tanjung Pinang.
  • There was a  student in Tanjung Balai who interested to joining the seminary in Pangkalpinang, he was Martin IjoLoeTjong. He was baptized in Tanjung Balai on December 24, 1954 then in January 1955,  he was sent to the Intermediate Seminary located in the Pangkalpinang rectory. At that time there were 5 seminarians in Pangkalpinang.
  • In August 1958 Martin continued to Seminary in Palembang and in 1964, he began the SS.CC novitiate in Ireland. Later in 1972, he was ordained to be priest inPangkal Pinang Cathedral, known as P. Martin Irawan SS.CC.
  • For 10 years during thePangkalPinang Apostolic Vicariate, all the pastors at the Tanjung Balai Karimunalternately came and went, they were volunteer alternating inTanjung Balai and Tanjung Pinang and also Moro stations. In 1957 Moro Station was changed to TanjungBatu Station (Kundur Island).

St. TeresiaMoro  and St. Mikael TanjungBatu, 1950 – 1961 (region)

The beginning

Moro is located on SugiBawah Island near Karimun Island, Riau Islands. The population is mostly dominant by the Chinese who worked as fishermen.

In the early of 20thcentury, there was a community of Chinese Catholics in Moro. They were a group of migrant fishermen from Fukien Province of China and had become Catholics there before moved to the Riau Islands. Their home parish is located in the city of Pinghai,  and there was a large parish led by Spanish Dominicans. There were 50 members of its community and they have good relationship with several priests in Singapore, so the priest came and baptism their children and celebrating Easter in Singapore. Pastor Lie from Singapore visited and served this community of people in Moro.

Mgr Theodosius Herckenrath SS.CC, Bangka Billiton's Apostolic Prefect in 1925 first visited the Riau Islands, he also spoke about the community of people in Moro even he had not met them yet. The catholic fishermen were doubted and did not trusted that the guy who looking for them was really a Roman Catholic priest because at that time mgr Herckenrath SS.CC did not wear a robe. But in the second visit in 1926 Mgr. This time Herckenrath asked for permission and he was approved by the fishermen of this Moro Chinese Catholic community.

On October 3, 1926 Mgr Herckenrath SS.CC gave the sacrament of baptism in Moro. Mgr promised to the people there that he would build a church in Moro. For this reason, then in April 1928 Brother GerardusJeanson SS.CC came with the major task to build a church.  That church was blessed by the new prefect of Mgr. Herckenrath SS.CC namely Mgr. Vitus Bouma SS.CC on December 3rd, 1928. This new church was named St. Theresiaas its protective. At that time Moro was included in the Riau Islands Stasi which served by P. Isfried Meijer SS.CC from Singapore.

On March 4, 1929 P. Meijer SS.CC opened a modest school in Moro. There were 24 students at the opening ceremony who register to study.

In 1933 a severe malaria was attacked Moro. Almost all people fled and moved from Moro. The church was forced to close. At the Beginning  of 1935 there were several Catholic families who returned to Moro but the glory of Moro was over and  increasingly declining. Once in a while, there were priests from Tanjung Balai Karimun came and visited Moro, because at that time Moro was including toe Tanjung Balai Karimunarea which in 1935 there was a priest who had settled in Tanjung Balaihe was P. Engelmund Tromp SS.CC.

Considering that the people in Moro increasingly shrunk while the mission building needed to be expanded in Tanjung Balai, it was decided to unload the church building in Moro and the demolition materials could be used for construction in Tanjung Balai. Early in 1936, Brother Antonius Bruijns SS.CC was choosen to led demolition in Moro and rebuild an expansion of schools in Tanjung Balaibye woods from the former Moro church. The priest promised to the rest of Moro people that they will came and celebrate the mass once in a month.

Started as a station

  • After World War II, the number of people in Moro increased to 150 in 1949. It was decided to separate Moro from the Tanjung Balai Stations in October 1949 and choose  P. Harry van Dijk SS.CC to be the parish priest of Moro. It region was including TanjungBatu on the island of Kundur.
  • P. van Dijk served and stayed in  Moro and TanjungBatu until 1951.
  • In 1951 P. van Dijk SS.CC moved to Tanjung Pinang. He was replacing bye  P. Charles Dorren SS.CC. He became the priest of Moro Stations and TanjungBatu until 1957.
  • On its progress,  tanjungBatu region was started increasing fast, there were more people inKundur Island. So for the second time Moro was abandoned and the Stasi Center was moved from Moro to TanjungBatu in 1957. The name of the Stasi also changed based on  theplace of residence of the Priest, that was  Stasi St. Mikael TanjungBatu and Moro are part of the TanjungBatu Station.
  • P. Isidorus van der Burgt SS.CC served and stayed inTanjungBatu - Moro Station from 1957 to 1965.


  • On 3 January 1961 the Indonesian Catholic Church Hierarchy was established then the status of the Pangkal Pinang Apostolic Vicariate was changed to the Pangkal Pinang Diocese. As the First Bishop of Pangkalpinang Diocese, Mgr. Gabriel van der Westen SS.CC. who had been the Apostolic Vicariate of the Pangkalpinang Apostolic Vicariate.
  • The status of the Tanjung Balai Karimun Station also changed to the Tanjung Balai Karimun Parish and  St.  Joseph was chosen as the protector of the Parish. The first Parish Priest was P. Wllem de Bruin SS.CC. There were 250 Catholics.

Pangkalpinang, November 23rd, 2018
Written By: FX Hendrawinata
Edited By: RomeskoPurba
Public Relation and Chief Editor of St. Joseph Parish Tanjung Balai Karimun
Translated by: Stanislaus Due

2525 Last modified on Tuesday, 19 November 2019 12:29

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Welcome to the Official Site of the St. Joseph Parish of Tanjung Balai Karimun, Kepri Province of the Pangkal Pinang Diocese, this site is expected to be a window of unifying information and a place for bridges of love especially in raising donations for the construction of the Church of Saint Joseph Parish.

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