India was one of the first countries touched by the Gospel. The Apostle Thomas is believed to have arrived on the Malabar Coast (Kerala) in 52 A.D., where he converted many. Around 72 A.D. Thomas suffered martyrdom in Mylapore (today Chennai, which until 1996 was named Madras) on the east coast of southern India.
In the late 5th century Portuguese missionaries reached the Malabar Coast and sought to introduce the Roman (Latin) rites to Indian Christians. During the 6th century, Goa was the centre of Christianisation in western India since it was under Portuguese governance, which encouraged the Catholic mission. The most famous missionary, St. Francis Xavier, who co-founded of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), arrived in Goa in 1542. He revitalized the Catholic faith among the Portuguese colonial officers and began his mission among the poor pearl fishers in South India.
In the north and northeast of India, on the other hand, the Church is quite young. In 2016 the Catholic Church celebrated its 120th anniversary in this region. However, in many places the Church was only able to build a presence in the second half of the 20th century.