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?

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Diocese of Aizawl

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Diocese of Aizawl
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The diocese of Silchar was erected in 1969, covering the civil districts of Cachar, Hailkandi and Karimkanj in Assam, and the entire states of Tripura and Mizoram. Aizawl and Silchar are the biggest towns in the diocese.


Mizo, Dimacha, Kuki, Naga, Riang, Khasi, Chakma, and Barman are the main ethnic groups in the diocese, which is also home to aboriginal Adivasi communities. The total number of population is 4,715,315.


Mizo, English, Hindi, Khasi, Assamese, Bengali and Mara are the main languages spoken.


The diocese was bounded on the west and south by Bangladesh, and on the south and east by Myanmar. It began in 1952 as the apostolic prefecture of Haflong, entrusted to the Holy Cross Fathers of their congregation's Canadian province. The prefecture was elevated in 1969 to become the diocese of Silchar. 

In December 1983, the Northern Cachar Hills district was detached from Silchar and incorporated into the new diocese of Diphu. Then, on Feb. 7, 1996, the entire state of Tripura was detached to form the new diocese of Agartala.


Cities are managed by corporations. Villages and small towns are administered by panchayat and municipalities, respectively. These local bodies are elected.


The diocesan area is well connected by roads and railways. Aizawl city has an airport.


Annual per capita income is Rs 27, 501 ($596) as of October 2009. Most people earn a livelihood by farming. They commonly grow ginger, rice, squash, fruits, oranges and bananas. They also earn money through the bamboo, timber, flower and handicraft industries. Weaving is popular craft as well as making bamboo crafts.


Government and private operators provide telecommunication facilities. The diocese is well covered by local cable TV networks.


88.80 percent literacy rate.

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