Catholic Church in Suriname

The Catholic Church in Suriname is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, and is under the spiritual leadership of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis.

There are 117,261 Catholics in Suriname, 21.6% of the population, far lower than most of South America.[1] The Church in Suriname consists of only one diocese, the Diocese of Paramaribo. There are 22 priests in the Diocese, with a ratio of about 5,030 Catholics per priest. There are 31 Catholic parishes in the diocese. The seat of the Diocese of Paramaribo is The Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Paramaribo.


The first missionaries to come to Suriname were the Franciscans in 1683, but the harshness of the climate did not favor the arrival of other priests, so that up to 1786 the country was totally abandoned by the Catholic missions. Since 1786 some secular priests opened a missionary center, but soon had to flee to the opposition of the ministers of other Christian denominations. When in 1816 the territory passed into the hands of the Dutch, was guaranteed freedom of worship. This was the real starting point of Catholic evangelization of what today is called Suriname. In 1817 was erected the Apostolic Prefecture of Dutch Guyana, which became apostolic vicariate in 1842 and the mission was entrusted in a special way to the Redemptorists. On 7 May 1958 the apostolic vicariate was elevated to the rank of diocese, then Diocese of Paramaribo.