Apostolic Prefecture of the Marshall Islands

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Apostolic Prefecture of the Marshall Islands

Praefectura Apostolica Insularum Marshallensium
CountryMarshall Islands Republic of the Marshall Islands
Territory Marshall Islands
Ecclesiastical provinceAgaña
Area69 sq mi (180 km2)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2010)
4,875 (8.5%)
RiteRoman Rite
Established23 April 1993 (28 years ago)
CathedralCathedral of the Assumption (Majuro)
Current leadership
Apostolic PrefectFr. Ariel Galido, M.S.C.

The Roman Catholic Apostolic Prefecture of the Marshall Islands (Latin: Praefectura Apostolica Insularum Marshallensium) is a Latin rite apostolic prefecture (pre-diocesan missionary ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church, below apostolic vicariate, lacking the rank of diocese and the right to a titular bishop), in the South Sea Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The apostolic prefecture is (atypically) a suffragan in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Province of Agaña (on Guam, US), yet still depends (like an exempt mission) on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Although the see of the prefecture, the Cathedral of the Assumption, in Majuro, on Majuro Atoll, is not in the United States, the prelature includes Wake Island, which is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States.


As per 2014, it has 4,975 Catholics (9.5% of 52,500 total population) on 181 km² of islands in a marine area nearly the size of the United States, pastorally served in nine churches in 11 parishes, by 6 priests (1 diocesan, 5 religious), 1 deacon, 15 lay religious (5 brothers, 10 sisters) and a seminarian.[1]


Missionaries from the Order of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (M.S.C.) arrived in 1898.[2] In 1905, a pre-diocesan jurisdiction was established as Mission sui juris of Marshall Islands, on territory split off from the then Apostolic Vicariate of New Pomerania (mainly New Britain, in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea).

On April 5, 1923, the independent mission was suppressed, its territory being merged into the then Apostolic Vicariate of Mariana, Caroline and Marshall Islands.

On April 23, 1993, Pope John Paul II split the former Diocese of Carolines-Marshalls into the Apostolic Prefecture of the Marshall Islands and the Diocese of Caroline Islands. In 2007, Father James Gould, apostolic prefect, resigned. Father Raymundo Sabio, a Filipino missionary, was chosen to succeed him.[3]


(all Latin Rite) [1]

Ecclesiastical Superior of the mission sui iuris Marshall Islands
Apostolic Prefects of Marshall Islands
  1. James C. Gould, Jesuits (S.J.) (born USA) (23 April 1993 – resigned 21 December 2007),[3] no other prelature
  2. Raymundo Sabio, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (M.S.C.) (born Philippines) (22 December 2007 – retired 28 June 2017),[3] no previous prelature
  3. Ariel Galido, M.S.C. (born Philippines) (28 June 2017 – ...), no previous prelature

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Apostolic Prefecture of Marshall Islands, Marshall Islands".
  2. ^ Gary D. Bouma; Rod Ling; Douglas Pratt (2010). Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia and the Pacific: National Case Studies. London: Springer Publishing. p. 154. ISBN 978-90-481-3388-8.
  3. ^ a b c CNA Editorial Staff (2007-12-21). "Korean missionary to be apostolic prefect of the Marshall Islands". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 2013-02-22.

Sources and external links[edit]

Coordinates: 7°00′47″N 168°13′19″E / 7.013°N 168.222°E / 7.013; 168.222