Shijiazhuang is the provincial capital of Hebei Province in northern China. It governs 6 districts, 5 prefectural cities and 12 counties, covering a land area of 15,722 sq km. Shijiazhuang is situated in the south-west of the province on the North China Plain and borders Shanxi Province to the west.
Shijiazhuang has a population of 10.28 million.
Mandarin is in use.
The ecclesial territory of the apostolic vicariate was craved out from Beijing diocese in 1856 during the Qing dynasty and French Bishop Joseph-Martial Mouly, C.M. of Beijing was named as their apostolic administrator. The name of the vicariate changed to Zhengding in 1926 and was elevated to a diocese in 1946 with Chinese Vincentian Bishop Job Chen Qiming as the first diocesan bishop.
During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Dutch Bishop Schraven, C. M. was murdered along with 8 other European missionaries by Japanese soldiers. Known as Massacre of Zhengding Church, the deaths were believed to be in retaliation for the clerics’ refusal to provide the Japanese invaders with 200 young “comfort women.” Advocated by Holland-based Msgr. Schraven Foundation, Bishop Schraven’s home diocese of Roermond in Holland received approval to begin proceedings for the beatification of Bishop Schraven and his companions March 2013.
The diocese of Zhengding was renamed as Shijiazhuang after the bishop’s house moved to Shijiazhuang city in the 1950s. The government-sanctioned “open” community adopts the new name while the “unregistered” community retains the name “Zhengding.”
As urbanization changes along with time, the jurisdictions of the two communities are slightly different. Zhengding diocese covers 16 counties while the Shijiazhuang diocese covers a larger area of 4 city districts, 2 cities and 15 counties.
Shijiazhuang is one of the major transportation hubs of northern China. Five expressways intersect in Shijiazhuang, leading to Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao, Zhengzhou and Taiyuan cities. Additionally, the Shijiazhuang Train Station is one of China's major marshalling yards. Shijiazhuang is also close to the Zhengding Airport, which is 20 km from downtown.
Shijiazhuang has a continental, semi-arid climate. Influenced by East Asian monsoon during the July and August, up to 65% of rainfall occurs in these summer months. The average temperature in July is 26.8 degree Celsius but it goes down to minus 2.3 degree Celsius in January. In spring, the city endures sandstorms blowing in from the Mongolian steppe.
Nearly half of the GDP is generated by the secondary industry. Shijiazhuang is home to one of the nation’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturing base. Other key industries include textiles, food processing, machinery, as well as chemical-related industries.
Table-tennis is one of the most popular sports in China. Located in the Zhengding county, the National Table Tennis Training Base is where many of the world champions are trained.
As a young industrial city, Shijiazhuang city is generally considered to have relatively few sights of historical or cultural interest. However, there are still some places of interest, such as the Martyrs' Memorial and Hebei Museum.
Dating back to the Han Dynasty (202 BC- 220 AD), the western area of Shijiazhuang was the nation's major metallurgy base, and produced weapons, armor and tools. One of its rivers, Ye River, was named for its association with metallurgy. Ye River literally means "River for Metallurgy."
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.