The diocese of Chengde was formed, conjoining parts of the diocesan territories of Jehol (Jinzhou) and Chifeng. It was the first Roman Catholic diocese since the year 1949, in China, and was the first diocese to be erected after September 22, 2018, the date on which the China-Vatican agreement took place. It was marked as the first-ever change to the Catholic hierarchy in China ever since 1951. The diocesan boundaries are the same as that of Chengde city in Hebei province.
The Mountain Resort in Chengde was chosen as the summer residence of the Kangxi Emperor, in the year 1703. The Resort, which was in use by the Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors, was built during the 18th century and is presently a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chengde later became the political centre of the Chinese empire.
The city, which is home to ethnic minorities like Mongol and Manchu, became a full-fledged city under the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735-1796). Located near the Mountain Resort is the Putuo Zongcheng Temple, modelled after the then winter palace of the Dalai Lamas—the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The Temple which was completed in the year 1771, after four-year-long construction, combines Tibetan and Chinese architectural styles. Heavily adorned with gold, it was dedicated to the Qianlong Emperor, to mark his birthday. The Emperor was worshipped in the Golden Pavilion of the temple.
Chengde remained the capital of Rehe province up until 1955 when Rehe was abolished and the city came to be a part of the Hebei province. During 1933-1945, Chengde was part of Manchukuo, a puppet state of the Empire of Japan, until Kuomintang regained jurisdiction post World War II. The city was under the People's Liberation Army from the year 1948.
Chengde has varying climatic conditions, with moderately long winters, and hot, humid summers. Temperatures are much lower, in comparison to Beijing, as Chengde has an elevation of 325m. Monthly average temperature ranges from 9.1°C – 24.5°C, from January through June, with annual mean temperature recorded at 9.11°C. The three summer months witness two-thirds of the precipitation, which averages at 512mm. The average monthly sunshine ranges from 50%-69%, from July through October, with annual average sunshine hours recorded at 2,746.
Located towards the north-eastern part of the Hebei Province, Chengde borders Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Beijing, and Tianjin. It also has the prefecture-level provincial cities of Qinhuangdao, Tangshan, and Zhangjiakou, as its neighbours. Chengde has an area of 39,702.4 sq. kilometres, occupying almost 21.2% of the provincial area of Hebei. With mountainous terrains and lower population density, it is the largest prefecture in the Hebei Province. The former name of Chengde—Jehol or Rehe, meant “Hot River”, as Re River, (a small tributary of the Luan River) never freezes in winter.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.