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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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Military Ordinariate of Korea

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Military Ordinariate of Korea
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The Military Ordinariate in Korea (called Gunjong in Korean) covers all Catholic Military personnel and their family. It does not belong to any ecclesiastical province.

The Catholic apostolate for the military began as the Military Chaplain Corps, organized by Maryknoll Monsignor George Carroll on Feb. 1, 1951 during the Korean War (1950-53). The Military Chaplain Corps was officially authorized by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea in 1961.

It became the Military Ordinariate in Korea on Oct. 23, 1989.

As of the end of 2008, it has 94 parishes and 166 mission stations with 96 priests.

South Korea has about 650,000 military personnel, most of whom serve 24 months of mandatory military service, which is required of all young men.

The 96 military Chaplain priests work in a "desolate field" where they celebrate Mass, counsel and accompany soldiers, after being educated as a military officer. They have to visit anywhere soldiers are and try to help soldiers to finish their service proudly and safely through religious, moral education as well as mission.

About 20,000 soldiers have been baptized each year for the past few years. So now they used to describe it as "golden fishing pond."

They think it would be the best place and opportunity to get the golden harvest of mission especially for young man.

The Korean Church celebrates Military Mission Sunday on the first Sunday of October, which comes near, or on, Armed Forces Day, and Bishop Lee Ki-heon of the Military Ordinariate issues his message to urge Catholics to help through prayer, donations, twinning other parishes with military parishes, and more participation of nuns in the military mission.

The special collections from the parishes cover a great portion of the expenditures of the military ordinariate.

Population

The number of Catholics of Military Ordinariate in Korea was 79,769 as of the end of 2008, most are ethnic Koreans.

Language

The standard Korean is in use.

Topography

Its jurisdiction is nationwide and related to the military stations. The diocesan office is located in Seoul, near the Ministry of National Defense.

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