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 Incheon

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Diocese of Incheon
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In a land area of 1,099 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers Incheon Metropolitan City and four areas including Bucheon-si (city), Gimpo-si, part of Siheung-si, and part of Ansan-si in Gyeonggi-do. Some of them are western coastal islands but the majority of the Catholic population lives in the urbanized Incheon and Bucheon areas. During the 1960s and 1980s, it was the second largest industrial area in the country with many large and small factories. It has now become a commercial and residential community as the factories moved out.


In Incheon diocesan jurisdiction, the population is 4,361,610 at the end of 2016. (Some 8.5 percent of the whole population 51 million in the country) Most residents are ethnic Koreans.


One railway and two highways connect the Incheon area to Seoul. It also has its own local subway system. Its harbor is the second largest port in the country, and the international airport is located in Incheon.


There are many national and local TV and radio stations. Most families have telephone and high-speed Internet connections and most individuals own mobile phones.


The major products manufactured are automobiles, and shipping and electronic items.

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