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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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Diocese of Yuci

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Diocese of Yuci
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In a land area of approximately 21,000 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the prefecture-level cities of Jinzhong and Yangquan in the central part of Shanxi province. Their administrative area includes 4 urban districts, 1 county-level cities (Jiexiu) and 11 counties.

Population

Jinzhong has a population of 3,060,000 and Yanquan has a population of 1,323,800.

Language

Mandarin Chinese and Shanxi dialect are in use in the diocesan territory.

History

The Prefecture Apostolic of Yuci was erected from Vicariate Apostolic of Taiyuan in 1931. Its first leader, Father Pietro Ermenegildo Focaccia, set up the curia in the Catholic village of Dongergou in 1932 and then moved to Yanghao Street in Yuci in 1940. The Italian Franciscan missioner was ordained a bishop in 1944 when Yuci was elevated to Vicariate Apostolic in 1944. Two years later, it became a diocese when the Chinese Church Hierarchy was established.

Bishop Focaccia died in Yuci in 1953. Due to political turmoil, his successor Father Anthony Humilis Yang Guangqi, who had a papal mandate, could not receive ordination as he was arrested in 1955. The Franciscan priest died in the prison two years later. Three priests had been appointed as administrators successively to continue the diocese's operation during the difficult times, until Bishop John Baptist Wang Jin became the second bishop of Yuci in 1999.

The government-sanctioned "open" Church authority restructured diocesan territory of Yuci in accordance with civil administrative boundaries and renamed it as Jinzhong diocese in 1986. The former Bishop's House had been occupied by the army and then Jinzhong city government for more than 50 years. In 1995, the government allocated another piece of land at Yutai Road as compensation to the diocese to build its first cathedral.

Transportation

The city is a transportation hub for Shanxi Province. All the Taiyuan-Jiaozuo Railway, the Yangquan-Shexian Railway and the Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan Railway run through the city. The Taiyuan-Jiuguan Highway, the Datong-Yuncheng Highway, the Taiyuan-Changzhi Highway, State Highway 108, State Highway 208, State Highway 207 and State Highway 307, and 12 province-level highways make up the comprehensive highway network in the city. Taiyuan Wushu Airport is situated 15 kilometers from the city center of Jinzhong.

Climate

With a temperate continental monsoon climate, Jinzhong has wet summers and dry, chilly winters. The average temperature is about 9.4 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is concentrated in summer (June to August) with the annual precipitation of about 480 mm.

Economy

In 2010, the city's GDP reached RMB 76.38 billion, representing a growth of 14 percent over the previous year, ranked fifth in the province.

The industrial sector, the largest sector, contributed 54.9 percent to the city's economy. The service sector contributed 36.6 percent to the city's economy. The value-added output from the agricultural sector comprised 8.5 percent of the city's GDP.

Coal mining and dressing, coking, chemicals, metallurgy, equipment manufacturing and textiles constitute the major industries in the city. The city produced 80.32 million tons of coal, 8.69 million tons of coke, 1.38 million tons of crude steel and 1.02 million tons of pig iron in 2010, respectively.

Topography

Lying in the central part of Shanxi province, Jinzhong stands at the foot of the Taihang Mountains. It adjoins Taihang Mountains to the east, Taiyuan (the capital of Shanxi Province) across the Fenhe River to the west, Changzhi to the south and Yangquan to the north.

Culture

Jinzhong's history extends to 30,000 years ago. During the Shang Dynasty, cities and towns emerged in this territory. In the Spring-and-Autumn Period (770-476BC), a county-level administration was set up in Jinzhong. Jinzhong is home to the businessmen of Jin. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, the businessmen of Jin set up businesses throughout China, even in Japan, Russia, Mongolia and regions in West Asia. Jinzhong is the origin place of China's financial industry.

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