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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Archdiocese of Yangon

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Archdiocese of Yangon
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Yangon is the capital city of Myanmar. There are altogether 14 states and divisions. Yangon archdiocese comprises the whole of the Yangon (Superior) Division, parts of Bago Division, Ayeyawaddy Division, and Kayin and Mon states. It shares a common boundary with Thailand. The archdiocese covers an area of 47,191.29 square kilometers with hills, mountains and fields. The total population in the whole archdiocese is about 15 million and Catholics numbered 79,682 in 2008 statistics.

Buddhism is the dominant religion in the archdiocese. There are about 600,000 Catholics in Myanmar, of which 79,682, or 13.28 percent, are in Yangon archdiocese. There are 49 parishes and subparishes comprising around 400 villages. 

In 1954, the Catholic Hierarchy of Burma (Myanmar) was established by Pope Pius XII, and the Vicariate of Southern Burma was divided into two sections. The larger eastern portion of the vicariate became the Archdiocese of Rangoon (Yangon). The western portion, comprising the three districts of Bassein (Pathein), Myaungmya and Henzada, became the Diocese of Bassein. 

Archbishop Victor Bazin was appointed head of the Archdiocese of Rangoon on Jan. 1, 1955. On June 19, 1971, Archbishop V. Bazin retired and returned to France the same year. Archbishop Gabriel Thohey Mahn-Gaby succeeded him as the Archbishop of Rangoon. On Sept. 28, 2002, he retired and Bishop Sotero Phamo (Bishop of Loikaw) was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Yangon. On May 24, 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Charles Bo Archbishop of Yangon. He was installed on June 7, 2003 by Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, the Apostolic Delegate to the Union of Myanmar.

The website of Yangon Archdiocese is available at: www.yangondiomm.org

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