In a land area of 17,000 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the administrative Division of 1 district (Linwei), 9 cities and counties (Baishui, Chengcheng, Dali, Hancheng, Heyang, Huaxian, Huayin, Pucheng, Tongguan). The diocesan territory has a population of about 10,670,230. Weinan is a Municipality (prefecture-level city) in the province of Shaanxi in the central of China.
In Weinan city, the population is 5,430,000 in 2009. (The population of the whole country is about 1.3 billion). Residents include ethnic groups of Han, Manchu, Hui, Mongolian, and Tibetan.
Mandarin is the official language but local dialect is also common as spoken language.
What is now Weinan Diocese was erected as Mission "Sui Iuris" of Tungchow (Tongzhou) on Nov. 3, 1931. Two years later, the Marche seminary was opened. It was named after Saint James of the Marches (an Italian Franciscan; 1391-1476) since the prefecture was entrusted to the care of the Italian Franciscans. By the time, it was closed in Dec. 1958, it had ordained eight priests.
On April 8, 1935, the territory was elevated to Prefecture Apostolic of Tungchow (Tongzhou). Tongzhou was later renamed as Dali and thus it is also called Dali diocese. There were 7 diocesan and 15 religious priests serving 6,266 Catholics in 67 churches before 1949.
In 1998, the Church brought a plot of land in Weinan city, which is the socio-political and cultural hub of the area and where most of the Catholics dwel, to build the new cathedral. The base of the diocese was moved to Weinan (now Linwei district) since then and thus it is also called Weinan diocese.
Currently, Weinan diocese has three deaneries: the deanery in the south of Wei River covers 7 parishes with 4,800 Catholics; the Nanbai deanery covers 5 parishes with 4,200 Catholics and the Dali deanery covers 6 parishes with 3,000 Catholics.
The convenient transportation system is referred to as "arteries of Shaanxi". Weinan is the connection hub of the North, Northwest and Southwest of China. The whole region realized the full establishment of the railway in every county, highway in every village, as well as the advanced postal communications.
The climate feature belongs to the monsoon climate of semi-humid and semi-arid, meanwhile, it also enjoys four distinct seasons, plentiful sunshine, favorable temperatures, and enough rainfall.
Agriculture plays a great role in Weinan, it is one of the major agricultural producing areas and production bases in Shaanxi even for the entire country, and it is known as "Shaanxi granary" and "Shaanxi Cotton Warehouse".
Weinan is situated in the east-central area of Shaanxi Province, separated from Shanxi and Henan provinces by the Yellow River. It is bordered by Xian and Xianyang in the west, and neighboring Yan'an and Tongchuan in the north. With flat topography and fertile soil, it's very suitable for the development of agriculture, forestry, and animal husbandry.
Weinan, with a long history and rich cultural content, is the root and source of Chinese culture. "Homo erectus lantianensis" of 80 thousands years ago and "Dali Man" of 20 thousands years ago was living on this land, Astragalus complanatus, Longshan Culture sites, as well as the remains of Xiyue temple, Taishi Temple, Cang Jie Temple are all witnesses of the long history of Chinese civilization. Tongzhou Bangzi, Egong opera have lasted for centuries, shadow puppets, paper cutting and other folk art are wonderful man crafts. 5500 pieces of cultural relics are kept in the city. Hancheng moving drums, Tongguan ancient warships and other 10 projects have been collected in the national non-material cultural heritages.
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