The number of believers in Banja Luka and the surrounding region has changed considerably during past and more recent history. This was due to the population decline of catastrophic proportions, especially after Second World War and during the Croatian War for Independence (Homeland War) from 1992 till 1995, which was ended in tragedy and the almost total exile or exodus of the Catholic population of this region. From some parishes only fragments of the original congregation remained, mainly the elderly. Thus, in spite of a small number of returning citizens, the population still declines gradually and is threatened with extinctin.
There are five parishes in Banja Luka today:
- Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
- Maria Stella,
- Budžak and
But only three church buildings still exist:
- the Bishop’s church or cathedral, dedicated to St. Bonaventura (in Kralja Petra I Street),
- the parish church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in Srpska Street), and
- the large Trappist Church of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Delibašino Selo (in Slatinska Street) which is a monk’s and a parish church at the same time.
The Franciscan church of St. Anthony on Petrićevac (Marija Dimić Street) was destroyed in 1995, so a customized hall is used for the Liturgy. On the other (eastern) end of Banja Luka, in Presnače (Tešana Podrugovića Street) the monumental St. Theresa of Child Jesus church, which was destroyed on 1995, is being reconstructed (the roof is already completed). The Roman Catholic parish Budžak (in the street Put srpskih branilaca – Way of Serbian Defenders) still does not have a church building, and the Liturgy is still celebrated in the cellar of the parish house. Every parish has its own parish priest, but some of them have no parish vicar, to the distress of a large number of believers. Every parish has a parish house, and the friars, Franciscans and Trappist monks, beside whose monasteries are parish churches, reside in their monasteries.
The Banja Luka Cathedral of St. Bonaventura - God's Tent. This wonderful building has been projected in 1960s by Miroslav Matasović, Croatian architect.