In a land area of approximately 120,000 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the cities of Xichang and Panzhihua, the counties of Dechang, Huidong,Huili, Mianning, Miyi and Yanyuan, and some surrounding townships, where churches and mission points have been established.
There are about 1.71 million populations in total, including Han, Yi, Tibetan and Hui ethnic minorities.
Mandarin Chinese; Xichang, Yi and some other local dialects are in use in the diocesan territory.
Catholicism was introduced to Xichang (formerly called Ningyuanfu) in the 18th century. French missioner Father Jean-Baptiste-Marie Budes de Guébriant came to spread the Gospel in the region since 1903. He became the first bishop of Xichang when it was erected as vicariate apostolic seven years later.
The prelate was transferred to Canton (Guangzhou) in 1915. The successive two bishops of Xichang have contributed to the flourishing Church development: preaching in the territory, building new churches, a seminary, a convent for virgins, schools, hospitals and homes for the aged.
Xichang was elevated to a diocese in 1946. Before the founding of People's Republic of China in 1949, there were some 40 Chinese and foreign priests, 36 nuns, 11,000 Catholics and 23 churches, according to the Pontifical Yearbook. But all churches were closed and religious activities were stopped when the Cultural Revolution began in 1966.
After China adopted the reform and open-door policy in late 1970s, elderly priests and nuns gradually returned to the diocese and resumed religious activities. Father Xie Chaogang was elected and ordained as the first Chinese bishop of Xichang in 1990 without papal mandate. He led the local Church until he died in January 1999. Currently, Xichang has no bishop, 12 priests, 21 nuns and 30,000 faithful in 17 churches.
Xichang Railway Station is a main station on the railway line Kunming-Chengdu. A fast express train line is under construction which should shorten travelling times. There are also some other stations in the city, including the Xichang north railway station and Xichang south railway station.
The city has its own airport, Xichang Qingshan Airport, which is attached to the spaceport by a railroad line and highway directly.
Xichang lies on the Kunming - Chengdu expressway. The section to the south is in use now while the mountainous section to Chengdu in the north is still under construction.
Owing to its low latitude and high elevation, Xichang has a mild climate. Under the Köppen system, the city belongs to the humid subtropical zone. Winters feature mild days and cool nights, while summers are very warm and humid. Monthly daily mean temperatures range from 9.6 °C in January to 22.3 °C in July; the annual mean is 16.9 °C. Unlike much of the province, which lies in the Sichuan Basin, humidity levels in winter are rather low, but like the rest of the province, rainfall is concentrated in the months of June through September, and the city is virtually rainless in winter.
Xichang is China's launch site for geosynchronous orbit launches. Xichang Satellite Launch Centre is located about 64 kilometers northwest of the city which went into operation in 1984. Communications satellites are the most common payload to be inserted into orbit from here. A number of Long March 3 rockets have been launched successfully from the spaceport.
Agriculture and heavy industry are other main industries of Xichang, while Panzhihua city's economy relies almost entirely on its giant mine, one of the biggest in China.
Xichang lies in near the border of southern Sichuan province. The city is just northeast of the prefecture-level city of Panzhihua. Anling River, which flows into Jinsha River (Yangtze River headwaters), is the main river in the area.
Xichang is a historical city of more than 2,000 years. It was a place of strategic importance in the southwestern edge of ancient China. It is also called "Moon City" as people can see a large and bright moon due to its good conditions of altitude, temperature, sunshine, longitude and latitude as well as low suspended particulate in the air.
On every first Friday of the month thousands of Catholics flock to Holy Cross Church of Cherpunkal in Kerala, India to revere Infant Jesus and St. Thomas, the founder of the church. The church stands on the southern bank of Meenachil River. This fabled church, also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross)Church, belongs to Catholic Diocese of Palai of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
St. Joseph’s Church in Lahore is the oldest Catholic Church in Pakistan that has flourished since the 19th century despite deadly sectarian violence in recent years. The church at Sarfaraz Rafiqui Road in Lahore was established as a wooden structure during the British colonial era, on Oct. 31, 1842, to provide pastoral care to the British soldiers. It completed 180 years this year.
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 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.