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?

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Diocese of Raigarh

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Diocese of Raigarh
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The population of the area was 1,265,084 at the end of 2002.


Chhattisgarhi, Oraon, Sadri, Hindi and English are in use.


The diocese was erected on Dec 13, 1951, by dismemberment of the neighbouring Ranchi and Nagpur dioceses. Bifurcating civil district of Sarguja from Raigarh diocese, Ambikapur diocese was created in Dec. 1977. Bifurcating civil district of Jashpur from Raigarh diocese, Jashpur diocese was formed on March 23, 2006. Jashpur civil district was created in 1999, bifurcating it from Raigarh civil district.

Prior to the formation of the Jashpur diocese, Raigarh diocesan headquarters was located at Kunkuri, a small town in Jashpur district. After the bifurcation of the Jashpur diocese, the headquarters at Kunkuri was moved to Jashpur diocese, about 45 km away from Jashpur district headquarters. After the bifurcation of the Jashpur diocese, the Raigarh diocesan headquarters are located in Raigarh town.. Many Oraon Catholics from the neighbouring Jashpur diocese have migrated to here for employment.

The neighbouring dioceses are: Raipur, Jashpur, Ambikapur, Raurkela and Sambalpur.

Former prelates were: Oscar Severin S.J. (1951 - resigned in 1957); Stanislaus Tigga (1957 - 1970);. Francis Ekka (1971-1984);  and Victor Kindo (1985 - transferred to the newly formed Jashpur diocese in 2006).


The diocesan territory covers a land area of 8,354 square kilometers and includes the entire Raigarh civil district. Major towns are Raigarh, Sarangarh, Kharsia, Gharghoda, Leonga and Dharamjaigarh.There are six tahsils in the diocese.


Villagers mostly depend on farming. They cultivate paddy. Jindal Steel Company is established here.

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