Hpa-an is the capital city of Kayin State. Karen State is composed of 3 districts and 7 townships. The three districts are Hpa-an District, Myawaddy District and Kawkareik District. The 7 townships are Hpa-an township, Hlaignbwe township, Hpapun township, Thandang township, Myawaddy township, Kawkareik township, Kyain-Seikgyi township.
It has common borders with Mandalay Division, Shan State on the north, Thailand on the east, Mon State and Bago Division on the west. Hpa-an Diocese comprises of all above mentioned 7 townships and part of Mon State. It comprises of the capital city, urban areas, satellite towns and villages near and remote, including undeveloped places. One can see different races, different levels of living standard and different nationalities. The territory is located at the south of Myanmar and covers an area of 30,383 square kilometers with hills, mountains and fields. The total population as of 2008 statistics is 1,160,000 and the total number of Catholics in the Diocese of Hpa-an is 10,781.
Buddhism is the most dominant religion in the Diocese of Hpa-an. About 12 percent of the population are Christians, 85 percent are Buddhists. There are also Muslims, Hindus and Animists. 12 parishes with around 400 villages are serving the people in the diocese.
Pope Benedict XVI has created the new Diocese of Hpa-an with territory detached from the Archdiocese of Yangon on Jan. 24, 2009 and has appointed Bishop Justin Saw Min Thide as its first bishop. He was installed on Dec. 3, 2009 as Bishop of Hpa-an by Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Delegate to the Union of Myanmar.
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.