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 Daltonganj

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Diocese of Daltonganj
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In a land area of 12,950 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers civil districts of Palamau, Garhwa and Latehar in Jharkhand state.

The district headquarter of Daltonganj has taken the name from Colonel Dalton who was the commissioner of Chotanagpur in 1861. The main towns are: Barwadih, Chandwa, Deorikalan, Hussainabad, Latehar and Netarhat. Daltonganj is famous for its wildlife sanctuary. World's first tiger census was conducted in the Palamau forests in 1932.


The 2,459,950 people in the diocesan area belong mainly to the ethnic groups of Munda, and Oraons, besides Muslims and Hindus.


Languages used in the diocesan territory are Hindi, Mundari, Oraon, Sadri and other tribal languages.


The diocese of Daltonganj was part of Ranchi archdiocese. It was constituted as a separate diocese in 1971 and Father George V. Sauipn, SJ,  was selected as the first bishop. For the better pastoral care of the faithful, the diocese of Hazaribagh was established with the territory taken from the Daltonganj diocese on May 12, 1995.


National Highway 75 passes through Daltonganj diocese.


The annual per capita income in the diocesan territory is Rs.23 361 ($518) as of December 2010.

Major industries are coal mines and bauxite.

Agricultural products are: maize, wheat and oil seeds.


The diocese is served by TV and radio stations.

People use mobile phones and landlines.


Literacy rate is 51 percent in the diocesan area.


Jharkhand has ebullient festivals like Sarhul, Sohrai, Karma, Christmas, Eid, Holi and Dushahra. Folk music and dances are part and parcel of the tribal culture.

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