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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 Shanghai

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Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Daqin Ma
Bishop Ma
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Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Daqin Ma
Thaddeus Ma Daqin is a Shanghai native. He was ordained a priest in 1994, upon his graduation from the Sheshan seminary. He was once the editor of the diocese's Guangqi Press, one of the two main Catholic publishers in mainland China. He was elected Auxiliary Bishop of Shanghai on May 30, 2012. His episcopal ordination took place on July 7 the same year with both papal approval and government recognition. Before his election as auxiliary bishop, Father Ma served as head of Shanghai diocese's Pudong deanery. Mid-December 2011, he had been appointed by Bishop Jin as vicar general. Bishop Ma is the first "open" bishop in recent years to announce publicly during an episcopal ordination his intention to give up his offices in the Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) - vice chair of the Shanghai CPA and member of the standing committee of the national CPA - to focus on episcopal ministry. The government-sanctioned bishops’ conference revoked his appointment letter as “coadjutor” bishop of Shanghai. However, the Vatican did not recognize such decision.

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