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 Ootacamund

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Diocese of Ootacamund
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The diocese stretches over a land area of 7,312 square kilometers. Ooty is the largest town in the diocese.


In 2016, the total population is 2,274,321 in the diocesan territory. Tamils, Badagas and Thodas are the major ethnic groups.


English, Badaga, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Thodas are the languages used.


The diocese of Ootacamund came into being by the Apostolic Constitution Nuntiatur in Psalmis of Pope Pius XII, which was promulgated on 3rd July, 1955. It came into being by partition from the mother diocese-Mysore, of which it had been a part from 1941-1955. Comprising the whole of the Nilgiris district and a part of Erode district which lies to the north of river Bhavani, the diocese covers an area of 7,312 sq kms and has a population numbering 20,60,445 of which 90,864 are Catholics and 20,235 are Christians from other denominations. The Church of the Sacred Heart, Udhagamandalam was chosen as its Cathedral and Antony Cardinal Padiyara was its first Bishop.

In 1845, Coimbatore and Mysore became seperate pro-Vicariates Apostolic and in 1850 Vicariates Apostolic and later on in 1886 separate dioceses with the establishment of the Hierarchy in India by Pope Leo XIII. Until 1940, the Nilgiris District together with all the territory lying to the North of the river Bhavani was part of Coimbatore Diocese. By a decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of Faith, dated 13th February 1940 it was attached to the Diocese of Mysore. In 1941 Mysore Diocese was reconstituted and Nilgiris District and all the territory to the north of river Bhavani became a part of it. Being a part of the diocese of Mysore for fourteen years, owing to the difficulties arising out of the differences in language, culture and distance, Ootacamund was raised to the status of a diocese in its own right on July 3rd, 1955.


Towns are governed by municipalities, whereas villages and small towns are administered by local bodies called panchayats. The members of the local bodies are elected.


The diocese, which is mostly in a hilly area, is well-connected by roads. The nearest airport is in Coimbatore city.


The diocese stretches over a land area of 7,312 square kilometers. Ooty is the largest town in the diocese.


The diocesan territory has a per capita income of Rs 19,027 ($425) as of December 2006. Tourism, tea, coffee, spices and vegetables are major revenue earners.


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


The literacy rate is 80.01 percent.

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