With a land area of 5,565 square kilometers, the Suwon diocesan territory includes cities such as Ansan (part), Anseong, Anyang, Gunpo, Gwacheon, Gwangju, Gwangmyeong, Hanam, Hwaseong, Icheon, Osan, Pyeongtaek, Seongnam, Siheung (part), Suwon, Uiwang, Yongin, and counties such as Yangpyeong and Yeoju in the southern Gyeonggi-do province.
Suwon diocese was carved out from Seoul archdiocese on Oct. 7, 1963, as a suffragan diocese of Seoul Metropolitan. At that time, it had only 24 parishes and about 42,500 Catholics, including 28 priests. By the end of 2004, it had 163 parishes and 662,614 Catholics, becoming the second largest diocese in Korea in terms of Catholic population.
Suwon diocese has many holy shrines. These include Chonjinam, the birthplace of the Korean Catholic Church, and the Mirinae Holy Shrine, where the tomb of the first Korean priest-martyr, Saint Priest Andrew Kim Tae-gon, is located, and which takes pride of place as the cradle of the Korean Catholic Church.
Suwon, the capital city of Gyeonggi-do, is famous for its Hwaseong Fortress, one of the renowned World Heritages designated by the United Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Suwon diocese covers the metropolitan areas surrounding Seoul. New cities and towns are being built and the population is growing rapidly.
At the end of 2017, the population in Suwon diocese stood at 8,133,304 (some 13.5 percent of the country's population of 51 million). Most residents are ethnic Koreans.
Standard Korean is in use. English, a mandatory subject in schools, can be spoken and understood in business and tourist areas. All traffic signs are in Korean and English.
Suwon diocese lies in the temperate zone, and has four distinctive seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. The yearly average temperature is 12.3 degrees Celsius. The annual precipitation in the region averages 1,328 millimeters. Most of the rainfall is concentrated in the rainy months (monsoon period) of June through September.
The southern Gyeonggi-do province is located in the middle of the Korean peninsula and is the center of South Korea's high-tech industry. The province's eastern region is mostly mountainous and the western region is mainly plains.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.