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 Varanasi

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Diocese of Varanasi
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The diocese of Varanasi was formerly the prefecture of Banaras-Gorakhpur. It was separated from the diocese of Allahabad in 1947 when the Canadian Capuchins took charge of the prefecture. Msgr. Jerome Malenfant OFM Cap, was the prefect apostolic of Banaras-Gorakhpur from 1947 to 1970. In June 1970 prefecture apostolic was merged into the diocese of Varanasi and was given to the diocesan clergy. Father Patrick D'Souza was appointed the first bishop of Varanasi.

With a land area of 21,436 square kilometers, the Varanasi diocesan territory covers civil districts of Varanasi, Azamgarh, Mau, Jaunpur, Ravidasnagar, Chandauli, Ballia and Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. The dioceses of Gorakhpur (north), Bettiah (north-east), Buxer (east), and Allahabad (west) are the immediate neighbors of the dioceses of Varanasi.

Agriculture is the main occupation in the area. The Gangetinc plain yields paddy, wheat, maize, gram, etc. Weaving of carpet and sari are the major occupation in this area.

Hindi, English, Urdu and Bhojpuri are the main spoken languages in this area.

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