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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?

All you need to know about the Church in the Philippines in one click
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Apostolic Prefecture of Xinxiang

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Apostolic Prefecture of Xinxiang
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In a land area of approximately 8,169 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the four city districts of Weibin, Hongqi, Muye and Fengquan, the two prefecture cities of Huixian and Weihui, as well as the six counties of Xinxiang, Huojia, Yuanyang, Yanjin, Fengqiu and Changyuan.

Population

Xinxiang has a population of 5.57 million, as of 2005.

Language

Mandarin and Henan dialect are in use in the diocesan territory.

History

The diocese of Xinxiang (Sinsiang) was originally under Weihui diocese. Since the PIME missioners were busy working in other areas, the bishop of Weihui then invited some American SVD missioners to assist in the pastoral work. On Sept. 8, 1933, three Divine Word missioners arrived at Weihui and were invited by Bishop Martino Chiolino to work in Fengqiu county. By the end of 1935, there were resident priests at all the major mission points in Huaiqing (Qinyang), Xiuwu, Zhonghe, Qiaomiao, Wangcun and Fengqiu. In 1936, Father Thomas Megan, S.V.D. was appointed the Prefect of the new Apostolic Prefecture of Xinxiang. 

In 1992, Vicar Capitular Father Liu Renping passed away and the diocese thus had only Father Zhang Junxiang serving. During this difficult time, Father Zhang started formation for young men and rebuilt the Qinyang Church. The first batch of seminarians graduated and were ordained priests in 1999. The new blood had brought new development to the diocese. In 2002, the construction of Shangcun Church completed and the reconstruction of Jiaozuo Church was finished next year. 

Transportation

Xinxiang is the intercession for the Beijing-Guangzhou Rail, which connects the north and the south of the country, and the Taiyuan-Shijiu Rail, which connects the Shanxi and Shandong provinces. The road density is 33.4 square kilometer per 100 square kilometers, which is higher than the provincial average of 27 square kilometers. Roads in all the 153 counties and townships are paved with asphalt.

Climate

Xinxiang is located at the northern temperate zone which brings four distinct seasons to the area. The climate is mild to warm in summer and cold in winter. The average temperature is 14 degree Celsius with an annual precipitation of 573.4mm.

Economy

Xinxiang has an abundant supply of mineral reserves of some 20 minerals which includes iron, copper, aluminum, cement, limestone, coal, chalk, refractory clay, barite, marble, dolomite, etc. The area is also rich in water resources. Some 170 kilometers of the Yellow River goes through the area which enriches a fertile basin of 4,558 square kilometers.

Topography

Xinxiang is located at the northern part of the province and is 600 kilometers south of the capital of Beijing. Its southern edge nears the Yellow River with the provincial capital of Zhengzhou and ancient capital Kaifeng located at the opposite bank.

Education

The Henan Normal University is located in Xinxiang, where there are four other higher colleges in the city.

Culture

Weihui is a historical city. There are four tourist spots of national level and some 50 spots at the provincial level.

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