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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 Asansol

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Diocese of Asansol
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Asansol is a city in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the second largest and most populated city of West Bengal and the 49th largest urban agglomeration in India.

Asansol is the district headquarters of Paschim Bardhaman district. According to a 2010 report by the International Institute for Environment and Development, a UK-based policy research non-governmental body, Asansol was ranked 11th among Indian cities and 42nd in the world in its list of 100 fastest-growing cities. Asansol is classed as a Y-category city for calculation of HRA (house rent allowance) for public servants, making it a Tier-II city.

Population

As per the 2015 census, the total population of Asansol is 14,624,000. The city has a literacy rate of 83.30 percent.

History

The evangelisation work in this area began in 1870 by the Jesuit fathers of Calcutta, formerly known as the 'Bengal Jesuit Mission'. On May1, 1994, Burdwan and Bhirbum districts were formed into a vicariate by Archbishop Henry D'Souza of Calcutta and Auxiliary Bishop Cyprian Monis of Calcutta was appointed as episcopal bicar.

The diocese of Asansol consists of Burdwan district, nine blocks of Bankura district and 10 blocks of Birbhum district. Asansol is a sub-divisional headquarters within Burdwan district. It is an industrial town, 225 km north west of Calcutta. Bishop Cyprian Monis was appointed as the first bishop of diocese of Asansol on Dec. 3, 1997.

Climate

Asansol has hot and dry summers and cold chilly winters. In summers, temperatures soar above 40°C with dry hot air blowing known as 'loo' while in winter temperatures go below 10°C. Monsoon lasts from June to September.

Geography

Asansol is a cosmopolitan city located on the lower Chota Nagpur Plateau, which occupies most of Jharkhand, between the Damodar and Ajay rivers. The Barakar river joins the Damodar river near Dishergarh. Two small rivulets, Nunia and Garui flow past Asansol.

While Dhanbad district in Jharkhand lies on the western side, Durgapur subdivision lies on the eastern side. To the south, across the Damodar river are the Purulia and Bankura districts. To the north are Dumka and Birbhum districts. Dhanbad district is a major coal mining area and has close links with Asansol.

Economy

The economy of Asansol is primarily dependent on its steel and coal industries, railways, and trade and commerce.

Topography

Asansol diocese’s territory spreads over 13,500 square kilometers and covers the districts of Burdwan, Bankura and Birbhum.

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