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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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Eparchy of Faridabad

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Eparchy of Faridabad
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The territory of the Syro-Malabar Church comprises the eparchies in Kerala and certain areas of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states in South India.

Outside its territory, the Syro-Malabar Church has 10 eparchies in India. Faridabad is the 16th diocese erected outside Kerala for Syro-Malabar Catholics.

The diocese comprises the national capital of Delhi, states of Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and districts of Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and union territories of Jammu and Kashmir.

The diocese has 950,000 square kilometers of area.

Language

Hindi, English and Malayalam are in use in the diocesan territory.

History

The pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar faithful in the archdiocese of Delhi was formally begun in 1991. Father Sebastian Vadakumpadan was designated by the Syro-Malabar Episcopal Commission for the pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar Catholics outside Kerala and was appointed chaplain of the Syro-Malabar Catholics in the archdiocese of Delhi by Archbishop Alan de Lastic on June 1, 1991.

Syro-Malabar pastoral care aims at bringing all groups of faithful under the same umbrella according to the teachings of the Vatican Decree on Catholic Eastern Churches

Father Vadakumpadan began celebrating Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Delhi from 1991 onwards. The archdiocese of Delhi encouraged him to carry out his mission. Father Sebastian began organizing holy Masses in the Syro-Malabar rite in different centres.

The archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly was generous enough to supply priests each time as per need.

To have a uniform Syro-Malabar pastoral care in the whole archdiocese, a Syro-Malabar Central Committee was formed.

Under the leadership of the priests and nuns, the community began undertaking various activities such as working men's and women's hostels, nurseries, dispensaries, educational institutions and homes for the disabled, street children and orphans.

The archdiocesan synod, held in October 2002, was a turning point for the pastoral care of Orientals in the archdiocese.

Pope Benedict XVI erected the new diocese of Faridabad of the Syro-Malabars and appointed Bishop Mar Kuriakose Bharanikulangara.

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