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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Archdiocese of Goa & Daman

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Archdiocese of Goa & Daman
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In a land area of 4,286.80 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the provincial state of Goa and the Union territories of Daman and Diu in Gujarat and Dadra and Nagar Haveli in Maharashtra.

Panjim is the biggest city in the archdiocese. Margoa and Vasco are other important towns in the territory.


Around 2,121,000 is the total population as of 2016. Konkanis are the major ethnic groups.


Konkani, English, Marathi, Portuguese, Gujarati and Hindi are the languages used in the diocesan territory.


The glorious chapter of the expansion of the Catholic Church in the east can be said to have begun after the European 'discovery' of the sea route to India in 1498. This helped the coming of the European fathers to these lands, one of them being St. Francis Xavier, the great Apostle of the East and Patron of the Missions. Goa is privileged to have been the starting point of his Church work and the place where his sacred remains are preserved.

Goa was called the "Rome of the East" due to the central role it played in the evangelization of the east. One Goan priest, Father Joseph Vaz, who distinguished himself in the evangelization of Sri Lanka and is therefore acclaimed as the 'Apostle of Ceylon', was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Jan. 21, 1995. Another Goan priest, Father Agnelo de Souza, member of the Missionary Society of Pilar, is hopefully on the way to beatification. Pope Clement VII erected the See of Goa on Jan. 31, 1533. Its Jurisdiction extended from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, to China and Japan. On Feb. 4, 1557, Pope Paul IV detached Goa from the province of Lisbon and raised it to a metropolitan archdiocese, having as suffragans the dioceses of Cochin and Malacca (Malaysia). In the course of time, the Sees of Macau (near Hong Kong), Funay (Japan), Cranganore, Mylapore, Nanking and Peking in China, Mozambique in East Africa and Daman were created and made suffragans of Goa.

In 1572, Pope Gregory XIII acknowledged the archbishop of Goa as the primate of the East. By 1857, Goa had gained some more suffragans while, on the other hand, it had lost most of its overseas suffragans, to the exception of Macau and Mozambique.

On Jany 23, 1886, Pope Leo XIII made the archbishop of Goa patriarch of East Indies. In the same year, the archdiocese of Cranganore was suppressed and its title was annexed to the diocese of Daman.


The city is managed by corporation. The villages and small towns are administered by elected local bodies called panchayats and municipalities respectively.


The archdiocesan area is well-connected in terms of transport infrastructure by roads and railway. The nearest airport is in Panaji city. The city has a major port and a naval base.


Nearly Rs 53,902 ($1,133) is the per capita income in the territory, one of the highest in India, as of Oct. 5, 2009. Fishing and tourism are the major revenue earners in the archdiocese. Cash crops such as coconut, cashew and rubber along with rice are cultivated in the archdiocesan territory.

Major cement factories, ship building yards, Naval stations are situated here. Minerals are also available in the area.


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


Nearly 75.1 percent is the literacy rate in the diocesan territory.

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