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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 Rajkot

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Diocese of Rajkot
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The diocese is spread over 109,950 square kilometers and is located in the heart of the Saurashtra region. It covers a vast majority of the area, including the Rann of Kutchch (Kutchch Desert) bordering Pakistan.

 People in Rajkot are well known for their afternoon siesta when they close their shops and offices and leave for home for a nap after an early lunch. The resilience of the people here is also well-known. After the area was devastated by one of the biggest earthquakes in January 2001, causing death to thousands and injuring many, the area managed to resume normal activity within a year. Christianity is relatively alien to the people in the region.

The Rajkot cathedral is named Prem Mandir (temple of love). It features architectural designs of various religions.

Language

Officially, Gujarati is the language but Hindi is also used. The diocesan area does not have an English-speaking population except those who have come from other regions.

Climate

The climate of Rajkot is generally pleasant. The summer season extends from March to June with daytime temperatures reaching a high of around 45 degrees Celsius. But the desert of Kutchch has severe extremes in climate. The temperature in Kutchch ranges from 0 degrees Celsius in the winter to 49 degrees in the summer. Traditionally, the region is drought-prone and the crops that are grown are those which require less water.

Topography

The diocese comprises the civil districts of Amreli, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Porbandar, Rajkot, Surendranagar and Kutchch.

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