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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 Zhoucun

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Diocese of Zhoucun
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Zhoucun Diocese covers the cities of Zibo, Binzhou and Dongying.

Population

There are five million people living in the area.

Language

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

History

Catholic faith was firstly brought to Zibo district, the metropolitan city of Zhoucun, during Ming Dynasty around 1636. The first church was built at Zhangdian district in 1808. Zibo was administered by Yantai Diocese and Jinan Diocese consecutively.

In 1929, a mission "sui-iuris" (independent mission) of Zhangdian was erected from Apostolic Vicariate of Tsinanfu (Jinanfu) and Father Henry Ambrose Pinger, who later became bishop, was the Ecclesiastical Superior. In 1932, the "sui-iuris" was elevated to Apostolic Prefecture of Zhangdian and Pinger was appointed Prefect Apostolic.

In 1937, the cathedral was removed from Zhangdian to Zhoucun and the diocese was then renamed as Zhoucun. In the same year, Father Henry Ambrose Pinger was ordained bishop in Chicago, the United States. The cathedral is still one of the excellent architectures in Shandong and it is one of the cultural heritages of the province. 

Transportation

As an important traffic hub of Shandong province, Zhoucun enjoys convenient transportation. The Jiaoji Railway, Zhangbo Railway, Zidong Railway and Xintai Railway form a cross in Zibo while the Jiqing Expressway and Binlai Expressway form another cross. The center of Zibo is only 70 kilometers away from Jinan International Airport, 210 kilometers away from Qingdao International Airport and 260 kilometers away from the Qingdao Seaport. Every district and county has expressway connections.

Climate

The climate of Zhoucun is located in a warm, temperate zone, and bears a semi-humid and semi-dry continental climate. Like other major cities in northern China, it has four distinct seasons. January and July are respectively the coldest and hottest month during a year. Annual average precipitation is 640.5 mm.

Economy

As a traditional base of producing silk and light textile products, Zibo, the metropolitan city of Zhoucun, remains an important place in the country and enjoys tremendous reputation on the market both at home and abroad. The total economic output value grows fast and sustainable.

Topography

Zhoucun diocese is located in central Shandong province. It borders the provincial capital of Jinan to the west, Laiwu and Taian to the southwest, Linyi to the south, Weifang to the east, Dongying to the northeast, and Binzhou to the north. It is located in the transition zone between mountainous area in central Shangdong and the North China Plain. Its southern area is covered with mid-sized mountains, while the center is hilly.

Education

Zibo is a national "advanced city invigorating itself through science and technology", "cultural model city" and "technology-intensive area." In the city, 443,000 students from Grade 1 to 9 are taught in 379 primary schools and 169 high schools respectively under the compulsory education.

There are 14 institutions of higher education, among them only Shandong University of Technology and Wanjie Medical College are able to confer the bachelor's degrees. Shandong University of Technology also offers postgraduate education. The education system of Zibo offers more than 30 key majors, including mechanics, electronics and informatics, biological pharmacological science, textile and clothes and logistics, and can provide local enterprises with 30,000 specialized technical personnel every year.

Culture

The Silk Road, prosperous throughout the Han and Tang Dynasties, is a famous passageway in China's history for economic and cultural exchange between East and West. Shandong area, with Zibo as its center, was the major place of silk supply at that time. Zhoucun was also one of the four famous, historical inland commercial towns in ancient times. Several streets are still well preserved today as they were in the past to witness the thriving business town in the old times.

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