Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Catholicism in the Philippines

“…500 years have passed since the Christian message first arrived in the Philippines. You received the joy of the Gospel... And this joy is evident in your people … We see it in your eyes, on your faces, in your songs and in your prayers. In the joy with which you bring your faith to other lands …”

~ Pope Francis said in his homily of the Mass at the Vatican on March 14, formally opening the yearlong celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of Catholicism’s arrival in the Philippines.

A country of 7,641 islands at the sea of southeast Asia with a population of 109 million, of which more than 10 million are migrants living in almost 100 countries across the world.

Why the Pope calls Filipinos “smugglers of faith”? What makes the local Church so unique?

What is the Catholic population in the country? How many dioceses, bishops are there?

All you need to know about the Church in the Philippines in one click
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Diocese of Fukuoka

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Bishop Josep Maria Abella Batlle
Bishop  Abella Batlle
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Bishop Josep Maria Abella Batlle
6-28 Josui-dori,
Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi
810-0028, Japan

Phone: (092)522-5139
Fax :523-2152

Pope Francis appointed Bishop Josep Maria Abella Batlle as the bishop of Fukuoka on April 14, 2020.

Bishop Abella, a Claretian, has been an auxiliary bishop of Osaka since 2018.

He was born in Lleida, Spain in 1949 and was ordained a priest in 1975. He was assigned to Japan, where he did pastoral work in the Nagoya and Osaka dioceses.

After serving as provincial superior of the Claretians in Japan, he became superior general of the order in Rome in 2003.

After finishing his term in 2015, he returned to Japan and pastoral work in the Osaka Archdiocese.

Bishop Abella is the second non-Japanese appointed since World War II to head a diocese in Japan. Before that war, foreign bishops were all replaced by Japanese.

In December 2017, American Franciscan Wayne Berndt was named bishop of Naha. In addition, Bishop Michiaki Yamanouchi of Saitama, though born in Japan was raised and ordained a priest in Argentina.

Previous Ordinaries:

  • Bishop Dominic Ryoji Miyahara (19 Mar 2008 Appointed - 27 Apr 2019 Resigned)
  • Bishop Joseph Hisajiro Matsunaga (1991-2006)
  • Bishop Peter Saburo Hirata (1969-1990)
  • Bishop Dominic Sen'emon Fukahori (1941-1969; 1941-1944 Administrator Apostolic)
  • Bishop Albert Breton, M.E.P. (1930-1941)
  • Bishop Fernand Thiry, M.E.P. (1927-1930)

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