Goa becomes a Diocese
The great apostle of the East and Patron of the Missions, St. Francis Xavier, landed in Goa on 6th May 1542 and with his coming and that of his fellow Jesuits, began the evangelization of Goa in right earnest. The then Goa was only the 3 districts or Talukas of Tisvaddi, Bardez and Salcette, called the Old-Conquests. The New Conquests were obtained by the Portuguese in the 18th century after the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1759 in Goa or in the East only. No conversions took place in the New Conquests. It was prohibited by the Portuguese government. Goa had the privilege of having been the centre of the missionary labours of St. Francis Xavier and the place where his sacred relics are preserved till today. The Carmelites and the Theatines who had been sent by the Padroado, came by land. They did not agree to work under the Padroado system; so they soon left the Portuguese territory. At the request of King John III of Portugal, His Holiness Pope Clement VII (1523-1534) created the See of Goa, as a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Funchal, Madeira, an island under Portugal, on January 31, 1533.
But since the Pope died before signing the Bull (Brief) of its erection, his successor Pope Paul III (1534-1549) issued the Bull “Aequum Reputamus” on 3rd Novermber, 1534, with effect from January 31, 1533, as it had been issued on this date by his predecessor. Thus Goa became the first diocese of the Latin Rite in the whole of the East. Its boundaries extended to almost half of the world: from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, to China and Japan in East Asia.
Dom Francisco de Melo was appointed the first bishop of Goa and consecrated in Lisbon, but he died before setting sail for India, in 1536. Dom João Afonso de Albuquerque was appointed the second bishop of Goa in 1538, and was solemnly enthroned in the Cathedral of St. Catherine, at the City of Goa, now called Old Goa, on 25th March, 1539. Thus he is the first bishop to effectively govern the vast diocese. On his death on 28th February, 1553, the See of Goa once again fell vacant for 8 years, during which period Dom João Nunes Barreto, the first Jesuit Bishop, sent as Patriarch of Ethiopia, Africa, where he never reached but stayed in Goa on his way to Ethiopia and Abyssinia, and did all the Episcopal functions in the diocese from 1553 to 1560 but he was not the Bishop of Goa.