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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 Chanda

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Diocese of Chanda
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Diocese of Chanda, the first Syro-Malabar diocese in North India, was established as part of a Latin-rite province even before the Second Vatican Council.

Population

The total population is 4,390,936 as of 2016.

Language

The main languages used are: Marathi, Hindi, Telugu and the tribal dialects of Oraon and Madia.

History

Chandrapur means "City of the Moon (Chandra)." During the British rule in India, Chandrapur came to be known as Chanda, but in 1964 its name was officially changed back to Chandrapur. In Chandrapur district, Christians numbered 266 in 1901, of whom 48 were Europeans, 14 Eurasians and 204 local people.

The Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) priests from Kerala started working in the diocese of Ambikapur-Raigarh at the request of Jesuit Bishop Sevrin from 1954, but they were not permitted to practice their the Oriental rite publicly. There was a proposal in 1959 to divide the diocese and place the CMI priests in charge of Raigarh, where they would be able to exercise their rite freely, but this proposal did not materialize.

In 1960, CMI Prior-General Father Maurus sent a letter to Archbishop Eugene D'Souza of Nagpur requesting that a section of the archdiocese be entrusted to the congregation. Archbishop Eugene wrote to the Apostolic Internuncio, J. R. Knox, and the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith about the proposal. Both the Vatican congregations concerned and the Carmelites accepted the principle of territorial jurisdiction.

Pope John XXIII erected the ordinariate of Chanda on March 31, 1962, separating its territory — Wardha and Chanda districts in Maharashtra and Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh — from the archdiocese of Nagpur and entrusting it to the pastoral care of the CMI priests. Monsignor Januarius Palathuruthy, CMI, was appointed its first ecclesiastical superior with duties, privileges and faculties of an apostolic exarch on June 12 that year. At a ceremony held at the archbishop's chapel on Aug. 15, 1962, the new ecclesiastical unit of Chanda was formally and canonically erected, and Monsignor Januarius installed as its first superior.

The ordinariate was raised to the status of an apostolic exarchate on July 29, 1968. On Feb. 26, 1977, Pope Paul VI established Chanda as a diocese and Monsignor Januarius was appointed its first bishop. His episcopal ordination followed three months later on May 3. Adilabad was made a separate diocese in June 1999.

Transportation

Most areas can be reached by railway or public transport services.

Economy

Paper mills, coalfields, cement factories, steel plants and bamboo products are available in the region. The main agricultural produce are jowar cereal, rice, wheat, sugarcane, oil seeds and cotton.

Telecommunication

Telecommunication services are widespread. No TV or radio stations broadcast from within the diocesan territory.

Topography

The diocese covers 32,233 square kilometers comprising the civil districts of Wardha, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra state.

Education

Literacy rate is 51 percent.

Culture

Tribal dance and other folk arts and dances of Maharashtra are popular.

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