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 Thuckalay

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Diocese of Thuckalay
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The diocese stretches overs a land area of 1793.94 square kilometers and covers the whole of Kanyakumari district and the taluk of Shenkottai in Tiruneveli district. Nagercoil is the biggest town in the diocese. Marthondam, Kulithurai and Thuckalay are also important towns in the diocesan area.


The total population as of 2017 was 2,010,200. Tamils and Malayalees form the major ethnic groups.


Tamil, Malayalam and English are the languages used in the diocesan territory.


On Nov. 11, 1996, Pope John Paul II erected the diocese of Thuckalay and appointed Mar George Alencherry as its first bishop. Thus the long cherished aspiration of the faithful of the Kanyakumari Mission and the archdiocese of Changanacherry was fulfilled.


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


The diocesan area is well connected by roads and railway. The nearest airport is in Thiruvanathapuram, the capital city of neighbouring Kerala state.


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 here is 81.25 percent.


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