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 Mangalore

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Diocese of Mangalore
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Nestling on the sea-board of Karnataka state is the city of Mangalore, the headquarters of Dakshina Kannada, one of the two maritime districts of Karnataka. It is believed that the seeds of Christianity were sown here by the Portuguese missionaries.


After the martyrdom of Father Pedro Cabilioness, who accompanied Vasco da Gama, the Franciscans and the Dominicans arrived in Goa, the then headquarters of political and religious activity of the Portuguese. By 1521, Franciscan missionaries started to spread the Gospel here. Three churches were built; one dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary at Mangalore; another to Our Lady of Mercy at Ullal Fajir and a third one to St. Francis of Assisi at Farangipet.


It is a fine stretch of land covering an area of 9,425 square kilometers sandwiched between the Arabian Sea in the west and the Western Ghats in the east and stretching from the Talpady River in the south to Shiroor Byndoor in the north.

It is an area running all round the foot of the coastal strip and is studded with hillocks of various heights ranging up to 180 meters above sea level. There are numerous rivers flowing from the ghats which serve as a source of irrigation.


The district is largely agricultural with small land holdings, harvested in traditional way.


Christianity is strongly rooted in Mangalore, and has a great influence in the socio-cultural and religious aspects of people. Mangalore is a center of education and people of various faiths live in harmony. It has produced many zealous missionaries for the Church and has provided 41 bishops and 10 archbishops and thousands of priests and religious. Currently, the Indian Church has 29 bishops and three archbishops, hailing from Mangalore diocese.


People mix together in social and religious activities, though they hold on to their own traditional worship. The modern, materialistic culture has paved the way for greater emotional integration.

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