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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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Diocese of Kalyan

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Diocese of Kalyan
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In a land area of 145,663 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers civil districts of Greater Bombay, Thane, Raigad, Pune, Kolhapur, Satara, Solapppur, Sangli, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Nashik, Dhule, Jalgon, Nandurbar and Ahmednagar in Maharashtra state.

Mumbai is the biggest city in the diocese. Pune, Thane, Kolhapur, Nashik are the other important cities and towns in the diocese.

Population

Nearly 48,570,844 is the total population in the diocesan territory. Marathas form the major ethnic group.

Language

Marathi, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and English are the languages used in the territory.

History

The history of the Kalyan diocese is much intertwined with the the Syro-Malabar Church in India. Having its roots in the Apostolic Ministry of St. Thomas , Christians migrated to different parts of India. They concentrated mainly in the big cities of India.

In Maharashtra, they were found mostly in Bombay, Pune and Nashik. The spiritual care of these regions are assisted by lay association like Kerala Catholic Association (Bombay) and St. Thomas Christians of India (Pune).

On Sept. 8, 1978, Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Antony Padiyara, the then archbishop of Changanacherry, as the apostolic visitor to study the situation. A pontifical commission was appointed and on the basis of its report came the establishment of new dioceses for the Syro-Malabar Christians of Bombay, Pune and Nashik regions. Thus, the birth of the diocese and the appointment of the first bishop took effect from April 30, 1988.

The episcopal ordination and the official inauguration of the diocese took place on Aug. 24, 1988.

After nine years of dedicated and pioneering work in the newly born diocese, Bishop Paul Chittilappilly was transferred to the diocese of Thamarassery in Kerala on Dec. 18, 1996. His successor and the second bishop of Kalyan diocese was Mar Thomas Elavanal, whose consecration was on Feb. 8, 1997.

Political

The Cities are managed by corporations. The villages and small towns are administered by elected local bodies called panchayats and municipalities, respectively.

Transportation

The diocesan area is well connected in terms of transport infrastructure by roads and railways. The nearest airport is in Mumbai city (formerly Bombay).

Economy

The per capita income in the diocesan territory is Rs 15,900 ($350) as of February 2011.

Agriculture, fishing are the major occupations in the diocesan area.

Telecommunication

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

Education

Nearly 70 percent is the literacy rate in the diocesan territory.

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