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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 Malang

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Diocese of Malang
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In a land area of 24,409 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the town of Malang and other areas in East Java, including Jember, Banyuwangi, Madura, Lumajang, Pasuruan, Probolinggo, Purworejo and Situbondo.

Population

In the diocesan territory, the population was 16,498,709 at 2016-end. As a province, East Java has the greatest population density. People are from different ethnic backgrounds including Javanese, Chinese, Dayak, and Flores.

Language

Javanese with different dialects is in use in the diocesan territory, also Madurese language.

History

Mission work started in the eastern part of Java in 1580 when the Portuguese traders came to Panarukan. A few years later, the priests of the Dominican Order tried to spread the Gospel in Panarukan and Banyuwangi led by Fathers Emmanuele, Pascuale, Pietro and Giorgio. There is no information regarding the work of the Dominican Order in the 16th century, until they were reportedly drawn to Malacca, while leaving Pascuale as a martyr.

In the beginning of the 1800s, priests from the Society of Jesus began to work in Surabaya. One of them was Father H. Waanders. They tried to visit the northern regions, among others, Pasuruan. Chronicle History of Mission noted the arrival of Father Van der Elzen, SJ, and Father Palinckx, SJ, in 1850 and a layman, AM Anthonijsz, in 1895. A small church, then donated, is still in use, the Church of St. Anthony in Pasuruan. Father G. Jonckbloet, SJ, was the first missioner who carried out evangelization works in Malang in 1896. He opened a parish located in Kayutangan, Malang, on July 2, 1896, and founded the Church of the Sacred Heart. From here, the mission reached Lawang. In 1900, the Order of the Sisters (OSU) built houses in Celaket monastery, Malang, and opened a school (Cor Jesu), which is still in use. The work of the priests of the Society of Jesus is recognized as the foundation's mission in Malang, which stretches between the Church of the Sacred Heart in Kayutangan, Lawang, and St. Anthony Church in Pasuruan.

From the centers in Kayutangan, Lawang and Pasuruan, Carmelites Fathers Van der Pas, Henckens and Brenkel moved to the region of Malang, and founded the church in Probolinggo in 1924. Father Van der Pas even crossed by boat from Probolinggo to Madura (Sumenep) in 1927. Meanwhile, the waves of migration moved from Kalibawang, Kulonprogo and Boro to the plantations along the southern coast of East Java. The first generations of Catholics baptized in 1904 were among them. Lay people participated in sowing the seeds of God's Kingdom in new places like Sumberjati and Glagahagoeng, south of Banyuwangi, and Sukoreno (between Lumajang and Jember), preparing the ground for the mission work in the area of the eastern tip of Java.

In April 1927, the administrative status of the Mission of Malang was converted into an apostolic prefecture. With this status, all activities of the Catholic faith were released from the responsibility of the Dutch Catholic Church and taken over by the Vatican. Father Clemens Vander Pas, OCarm was appointed as the leader (Prefect of Malang), which was confirmed by Bishop Antonio Pietro Francesco Van Velzen, SJ, vicar apostolic of Jakarta (Batavia).

Transportation

Land, sea and air transportations are available in the diocese. Villages can be accessed from the main asphalted roads. Almost every island has harbor connecting one another.

Economy

People make up of civil servants, farmers, traders and mostly employees.

Telecommunication

The telecommunication in the diocese is good. Almost all parts in the diocese can be reached by phone, the Internet, television and radio.

Education

Malang is known as the ‘City of Education,’ because it has many reputable universities. There are also many senior high schools.

Culture

The ethnic and cultural richness adds to the traditional arts. One of these traditional arts is Topeng Malangan puppet show. The styles of the arts can be traced back to the three cultures of Central Java, Madura and Tengger. People in Malang are known for their dynamics and hard work.

There is also a center for the appreciation of local arts, which is called Taman Krida Budaya Jawa Timur. Here, various local arts are often performed, such as Ludruk, Ketoprak, Wayang Orang, Wayang Kulit, Reog, Kuda Lumping and Sendra Tari.

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