Established in 1576, Macau is the first diocese in the Far East and has been the gateway of missionaries entering mainland China in the 19th century. The first bishop was Jesuit Melchior Carneiro. Over centuries of development, more than 100 dioceses have become independent from Macau diocese.
Since the enclave came under the rule of Portugal in 1557, Portuguese and Chinese Catholics have rarely mixed in the 452-year-old Macau diocese, reflecting their segregation in society due to differences in language and culture.
Macau-born Portuguese, many of whom can speak the Cantonese dialect fluently, and Portugal-born Portuguese constitute some 3,690 or 18 percent of the 20,138 Catholics here, according to 1997 diocesan statistics. The number has dropped from 6,659 in 1994 to 3,690 in 1997, or about 45 percent, as many people, especially the Portuguese, have emigrated or returned to Portugal before Macau's handover to China on Dec. 20, 1999.
On the other hand, local Chinese accounts for over three-quarters of the Catholic population and English-speaking and Filipino minorities make up the rest on this special administrative region of 21 square kilometers.
Chinese and Portuguese are the official language of Macau. Mandarin Chinese and the Cantonese dialect are both spoken language in use as there are more mainlanders residing or traveling to Macau today.
Gaming industry and tourism are the major revenue of the special administrative region government. Many local people also rely on the two industries for a living. Since the government has relaxed the gaming franchise, construction industry has also taken a prominent place as more casino and hotels are being built.
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
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.
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.
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.
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.
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.