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 Jabalpur

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Diocese of Jabalpur
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The first Roman Catholics arrived in Jabalpur in 1840 with the establishment of a military regiment in Jabalpur by the British East India Company, as the infamous thugs frequently attacked them and the Irish Secular Priests of Madras vicariate that was established in 1834 started visiting them. 

The diocesan territory has a dimension of 52,980 square kilometers and is located in Central India.


Tribals in the area are mostly Gonds.


Hindi is the language spoken in the diocesan territory.


Jabalpur was an outstation and remained so until 1858, when Jabalpur became an independent station and received the first resident priest who was the military chaplain in Jabalpur.. From the 1850s the MSFS Fathers served the Church in Jabalpur. Father Amedee Delalex was the first parish priest of SS. Peter & Paul Church, Jabalpur who served for 30 years until his death on July 10, 1889.

Jabalpur became a prefecture apostolic on July 18, 1932 and a diocese on July 5, 1954. From this time on, the number of diocesan priests began to increase steadily.

Jabalpur diocese was blessed with four bishops the pioneer Bishop Conrad Dubbelman O. Praem was among the first Norbertines who took over pastoral care and evangelization of Jabalpur and became the first and only prefect apostolic of Jabalpur in 1933. Bishop Leobard D'Souza, the second Bishop of Jabalpur, was a 'Jabalpur boy' in all sense. A Norbertine stalwart, Bishop Theophane O.Praem was chosen as the third in 1977.


The diocese is well connected by rail, road and air networks.


Agriculture is the predominant industry in the area.

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