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?

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Diocese of Linyi

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Diocese of Linyi
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Linyi Diocese covers 3 districts (Hedong, Lanshan and Luozhuang) and 9 counties (Cangshan, Fei, Junan, Linshu, Mengyin, Pingyi, Tancheng, Yinan and Yishui).


As of 2010, the territory has a population of 10,039,400.


Mandarin Chinese and Linyi dialect are used in the territory


The Apostolic Vicariate of Yizhoufu, former name of Linyi (Yizhou) diocese, was carved out from Qingtao in 1937. It was under the administration by German Divine Word Society (SVD). German Father Charles Weber (later bishop) was the first Vicariate Apostolate. During the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1938, the St. John Cathedral on Lanshan Road was once a place of refuge for Chinese escaping from Japanese troop's slaughter.

In 1946, the Apostolic Vicariate was elevated to Diocese of Linyi. Foreign missioners were expelled from China in early 1950s and the diocese was entrusted to Chinese Father Zhong Weijie. In 1992, after the death of Father Zhong, Father Johan Fang Xingyao was entrusted to manage the diocese until he was ordained a bishop of Linyi in 1997.


Linyi has well-established transportation infrastructure. Linyi Airport, which is 30-minute drive from downtown area, offers regular domestic flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, Weihai and other 5 cities. The Yunzhou-Shijiu Railway, Pingshang-Lanshan Railway, Beijing-Shanghai Highway and Rizhao-Dongming Highway all run through the city.


Linyi enjoys a temperate climate and high precipitation. The mountains, hills, and plains account for approximately equal parts of the total area of the territory.


Linyi enjoys a temperate climate and high precipitation. The mountains, hills, and plains account for approximately equal parts of the total area of the territory.


Linyi abounds in natural resources. The output of honeysuckle ranks top in the country while the output of ginkgo, garlic, Chinese chestnut and husbandry products ranks top in the province. The outputs of grain, fruits and peanut rank second in the province.

As for the production of vegetables, Linyi is called the "south vegetable garden of Shandong" due to its large scale, good quality and non-polluted produces. Linyi has formed an industrial structure with some production scale and technological level backed by light industry, textile, machinery, chemical industry, electronic, building materials, coal and gold.


Linyi is a prefecture-level city in the southern part of Shandong province. It is the largest prefecture-level city in Shandong both by area and total population. Linyi borders Rizhao to the east, Weifang to the northeast, Zibo to the north, Tai'an to the northwest, Jining to the west, Zaozhuang to the southwest, and the province of Jiangsu to the south.


Linyi University and Shandong Medical College are located in the area.


The name of Linyi means near (Lin) the Yi River (Yi), which is the biggest river in Shandong. It was once a battlefield in the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1938, where fierce fighting between Chinese and Japanese troops happened. The Chinese, encouraged by the success of their military in the nearby Battle of Tai'erzhuang, defended Linyi fiercely, but finally Japanese soldiers breached the walls on April 19, 1938. The defenders withdrew on the next day to another contested area 30 miles away.

In the 1970s, the bamboo strips of "the Art of War of Sunzi" and "the Art of War of Sun Bin" were found in a western Han tomb in the city. "The Art of War of Sunzi", written by Sun Zi in the Warring States Period (403 BC-221 BC), is the most influential ancient Chinese military book ever written. Sun Bin, a direct descendant of Sun Zi, wrote the "the Art of War of Sun Bin". Both books discuss military treaties, tactics and strategies. Both have had an influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, and beyond.

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