Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the financial capital of Pakistan. Locally known as"the city of lights", it was the original capital of Pakistan until the construction of Islamabad.
The most commonly spoken language in Pakistan's most cosmopolitan city is Urdu, the national language. Other national languages spoken in Karachi are Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto and Balochi are widely spoken in the city. However migrant languages such as Bengali and Dari are widely spoken by a high number of residents.
It is believed that St. Thomas passed through this territory on his way to South India. The province was originally an ecclesiastical district of Bombay archdiocese.
Augustinian Missionaries started the mission at the beginning of XVII century. They were replaced by Discalded Carmelites who remained till 1672. After the British conquest in 1842-1843, the Carmelites returned as chaplains to the troops. The advent of people from Goa of pre-partition India in Karachi had begun when the British eyed Karachi as a future city of trade, commerce, leisure and strategy. The Capuchin father took charge in 1852 and then the Jesuits took over from 1856 to 1935.
It was separated from Bombay archdiocese on June 1, 1934 and made into a "Missio Independens" and was entrusted to the Franciscan Fathers of the Dutch province. On May 28, 1948, it was erected into a diocese and two years later, on July 15 1950, it became an archdiocese.
The Anglo-Indian Christians have been living and working here, a sleepy fishing village-turned-megacity, since that time. They decided to stay back in a caste-free Pakistan after 1947 partition. They thought since they were mostly involved in education and health and serving mostly Muslims, they would be spared the wrath of extremists.
Karachi is a major transport hub of Pakistan. The Karachi port and airport are major gateways in Pakistan. The Jinnah International airport of Karachi is the largest and busiest airport of the country. Minibuses, coaches and large buses (all with a separate compartment for women) typically provide the cheapest way to commute across the city. Rickshaws, chinchis and taxis cater to the travelling needs of upper middle class, while radio cabs or white cabs are frequently used by upper class travellers.
Karachi is located on the coast and as a result has a relatively mild climate. The level of precipitation is low for most of the year. However, due to the city's proximity to the sea, humidity levels usually remain high throughout the year. The city enjoys mild winters and very warm summers. Karachi also receives the tail end of the monsoon rains. July and November are the best time to visit Karachi.
Pakistan's richest city accounts for nearly 45 per cent of Pakistan's GDP. It translates into roughly 15 billion rupees (USD175,932,437 as of June 2010) per day and tax revenues of one billion rupees per day. The city is a national headquarters for industry and the service sector, a bustling port city on the Arabian sea.
Karachi may be broadly divided into two parts; the hilly areas in the North and West and an undulating plain and coastal area in the South-East. The hills in Karachi are the off-shoots of the Kirthar Range. All these hills are devoid of vegetation and have wide intervening plains, dry river beds and water channels.
Karachi has a long coastline and famous sea beaches in the South. It has calm water channels for rowing and other water activities. Away from the shoreline are some small islands.
In 2008-09, the city's literacy rate was estimated at 65.26%, the highest in Pakistan, with a gross enrolment ratio of 111%, the highest in Sindh province.
St. Patrick's High School, founded by a Jesuit priest in 1861, is one of the best schools in the country and has produced well known leaders and personalities including two Cardinals, two Prime Ministers of Pakistan, two Chief Ministers of Sindh, (the leader of the BJP party in India is also an alumni), mayors of Karachi, great sportsmen and well known educationists and former president Pervaiz Musharaf. President Asif Zardari also attended this school.
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.