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 Belgaum

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Diocese of Belgaum
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The diocese's land area of 44,215 square kilometers covers civil districts of Belgaum, Bagalkot, Dharwad, Gadag and Haveri in Karnataka state, and Chandgad taluka of Kolhapur district in Maharashtra state. 

Belgaum is one of the oldest, most prominent and culturally important place in the Western Ghats, one of India's three main watersheds. It lies in a zone of cultural transition from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa, with an easily traceable history back to the second century A.D. The nearest major cities to Belgaum are Panaji in Goa, Hubli and Dharwad in Karnataka, and Kohlapur in Maharashtra. Many Catholics in Belgaum trace their roots to Goa.


Konkani, Kannada, Marathi, English and Tamil are in use.


The diocese of Belgaum was erected on Sept. 19, 1953, by Pope Pius XII. Two civil districts of Belgaum and North Karnataka were separated from the archdiocese of Goa and two other civil districts of Dharwad and Bijapur were taken from the diocese of Pune to form the diocese of Belgaum.

Father Michael Rodrigues was appointed the first Bishop. Pope Paul VI separated North Karnataka district from the Belgaum diocese to form the diocese of Karwar on Jan. 24, 1976.

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