In an area of 28,337 square kilometers, Meerut diocese covers civil districts in two northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Dehra Dun, Haridwar, Moradabad, Rampur, Jyotiba Phule Nagar, Ghaziabad, Baghpat and the tehsil of Dhampur in Bijnor district. Most of the people are Hindus and Muslims. Christians are mostly poor and live in the villages. Meerut diocese has the highest number of Catholics in the region.
The languages spoken by the 30, 000,000 people in the diocese are Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and English.
Detached from Agra archdiocese, Meerut diocese was formed on Feb 20, 1956. The first bishop was Bishop Joseph B. Evangelisti OFM CAP. He was succeeded by Bishop Patrick Nair (1974- 2009). Bishop Oswald Joseph Lewis was ordained co-adjutor bishop in 1998 and in 2005 he was transferred to be the first bishop of the newly created Jaipur diocese.
The new diocese of Bijnor was formed in May 1972, detaching the civil districts of Bijnor (excluding Dhampur tehsil), Chamoli, Garhwal, Tehri and Uttarkashi form Meerut diocese.
The Church of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana was raised to the status of a minor basilica by on Dec. 13, 1961. It was built in 1822 by the then Queen Begum Yohanna Sumru, a Muslim convert. It is a pilgrim center.
The diocese also has a strong prison ministry: 'Asha Kiran.'
Most of the villagers are involved in farming. They cultivate rice, sugarcane, wheat, barley, jowar, bajra, maize, pulses, oil seeds, potato, tobacco and cotton. The Ganga River and its tributaries make the land fertile.
Most of the rural population consists of dalits (former untouchables).
Ghaziabad in the diocese has many industries like sugar mills, steel, chemical and car factories.
Missionary thrust was the focus of the diocese. It has been giving importance to education: running local Hindi medium schools in villages and English medium schools in towns. They are mainly run by Religious Sisters and Brothers, allowing the priests to focus on the pastoral ministries.
The antiquities discovered from like Meerut connect its history to the early stone age and the Harappan culture.
The area has many holy shrines and pilgrim centers. Haridwar is an important pilgrim center for the Hindus. Thousands of devotees gather here for the Kumbh Mela. The hill station Mussorie is a great tourist center, especially in summer.
Ornamental brassware work is famous in Moradabad and carved woodwork in Saharanpur in the diocese.
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.