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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 Coimbatore

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Diocese of Coimbatore
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The diocesan territory stretches over 28,490 square kilometers and covers civil districts of Coimbatore and parts of civil districts of Erode and Karur in the state of Tamil Nadu, and civil district of Palakad in the neighboring Kerala state. Coimbatore is the biggest city in the diocese with more than 1 million people. Erode and Palakad are other important towns in the diocese.

Population

The population was 7,419,686 at the end of 2016.

Language

Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telegu are the languages spoken in the diocese.

History

Christianity took root in Coimbatore in the early 1650’s. A small chapel was built and named after Saint Francis Xavier. Jesuit priest Father Garrie, who was living Karumathampatty, met the spiritual needs of Christians in Coimbatore.

From 1656-1773, the Jesuits did mission work here, but later, due to the suppression of the Jesuit order by the pope, Coimbatore was given to the care of the French MEP missionaries in 1775.

On April 3, 1845, Karumathampatty became the headquarters of Coimbatore diocese. Coimbatore, which had formerly been part of Pondicherry archdiocese, was removed from the archdiocese on Oct. 4, 1846. Father Marion Bresillac was consecrated first bishop of Coimbatore. In honor of his patron saint, he dedicated the diocese and its cathedral to St. Michael. He also planned to model the cathedral after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. He laid the foundation stone for the cathedral in 1850. The construction of the cathedral took 17 years and it was successfully completed with financial help from Propaganda Fide. The cathedral was blessed by Bishop Gladius Maria Depomier, the third bishop of Coimbatore, on April 28, 1867.

In 1870, Bishop Gladius Maria Depomier participated in the First Vatican Council. Father Joseph Bardou became the next bishop of Coimbatore from Aug. 23, 1874. When a severe drought swept Coimbatore from 1876-1878, he helped the people to a great extent by making porridge containers. He died on Feb. 7, 1903.

Political

Coimbatore city is administered by a corporation headed by an elected mayor. The towns are managed by municipalities. The villages and small towns are administered by elected local bodies called panchayats.

Transportation

The region is well connected by railway and roads. Coimbatore has its own airport.

Climate

The diocese enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year as it is situated near the Western Ghats, a range of hills in South India.

Economy

The per capita income in the diocesan territory is Rs 23,515 ($533) as of January 2007. Farming, automobile-manufacturing, engineering and textiles are the major industries in the diocese. Cash crops such as cashew nuts, coffee, tea and spices are widely produced in the diocesan area.

Telecommunication

Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area. The diocese is well connected by local cable TV networks.

Education

The literacy rate in the diocesan territory is 75.54 percent.

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