Jaipur diocese is in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. Jaipur is the state capital.
The diocese's land area of 129,060 square kilometers covers 12 civil districts: Jaipur, Alwar, Bikaner, Churu, Dausa, Hanumangarh, Jhunjhunu, Karauli, Nagaur, Sawaimadhopur, Sikar and Sriganganagar.
Jaipur is known as the pink city, because many buildings are built with pink stones. It is a tourist centre. King Sawai Jai Singh II built the city 1727 in accordance with ancient Hindu architecture.
Rajasthan means place (sthan) of kings (raja). The land is known for its chivalry and magnificent palaces. The customs, costumes, culture, music and dialects have an unusual diversity.
Most of the people are tribals, Dalits (formerly untouchables) and other backward castes.
Hindi, Marwarhi and English are the main languages spoken.
Christian presence in Jaipur dates back to the 18th century when Father Emmanuel de Figuredo was sent here at the invitation of Maharaja (king) Sawai Jai Singh II. Pedro de Silva, the first lay Catholic to settle in Jaipur, accompanied the priest.
Maharaja Sawai Man Singh gifted land and generously contributed to the building of Sacred Heart Church at Ghat Gate in 1871. The first resident priest in Jaipur was Capuchin Father Conrad.
In 1890, the Rajaputana and Malwa missions were created from the territory of Agra diocese. In 1891, this new mission was made into an apostolic prefecture with Capuchin Father Bertram as its apostolic prefect. It then had five mission stations, including Jaipur, with five priests.
From 1913, the area came under the diocese of Ajmer, renamed the diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur in 1955. On July 20, 2005, the diocese of Jaipur was created and Bishop Oswald Joseph Lewis, then coadjutor bishop of Meerut, was installed as its first bishop on Aug. 28, 2005.
The Catholics in Jaipur diocese are only 4,265 amid a population of 25,828,271 (0.016 percent) in 25 parishes and mission stations. The diocese has 13 diocesan priests.
The diocese has many migrant, employed Catholics from southern India and a few local converts belonging to backward communities. Most of the Catholics live in the towns.
Currently, the area is experiencing all round development in education, industry and agriculture. Many universities have been established and Alwar is fast emerging as a major industrial town, while Bikaner is well known for its wool industry and Jaipur for gems and jewelry. In the agricultural sector, people cultivate wheat, bajra, jowar and maize.
The diocesan territory is blessed with natural beauty and abundant natural resources, as well as a rich cultural heritage.
Many foreign tourists frequent this area. It has an enormous wealth of minerals such as iron, copper and manganese.
The area supports a wide spectrum of wildlife and attracts many migratory birds. While Ranthambhor has a famous national park, Jamwa Ramgarh in Jaipur is known for its wildlife sanctuary.
The lofty hills of Aravali, one of the oldest mountain ranges of the world, and the golden sand dunes of the Great Indian Desert -- the only desert of the subcontinent -- are located in Rajasthan. The western part of the state touches the international boundary with Pakistan.
The region is also known for its folk music, folk musical instruments and folk musicians. The region is also famous for dancing, singing, drama, devotional music and puppet shows. Besides cattle fairs, Jaipur hosts the famous elephant festival and Bikaner a camel festival.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.