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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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Archdiocese of Lahore

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Archdiocese of Lahore
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The Archdiocese of Lahore is a major Catholic Church territory in Punjab province and the oldest diocese in the country.

Language

Punjabi is the main language spoken. But a sizeable number of people speaks Urdu and English.

History

The first Roman Catholic chapel was constructed in Lahore in 1597 during Mughal Emperor Akbar. On the account of the letters received at Goa Christian Society by the Priests of Jesuit Christian Missions in 1595, Emperor Akbar had promised Jesuit Christian Priests the erection of the church.

Following the Emperor's invitation, three separate Christian Jesuit Missions were sent off to Lahore by the Goa authorities. The first mission comprising of three Christian priests stayed for three years till 1583 at the Court of Akbar. In 1592, on Emperor's urgent request, the second mission was sent which remained at Akbar's court for two years. The last mission arrived in Lahore in 1595 and became a permanent institution.

However, churches only began to be established in Lahore after advent of the British in 1840. The Catholic population of Lahore at that time was composed of the Europeans, mostly Portuguese, and the Armenians. They were mostly chaplains, members of the East India company and British soldiers. Portuguese at that time had occupied three colonies on the sub continent, including Goa.

Lahore was erected as the Vicariate Apostolic of Punjab in 1880 from Apostolic Vicariate of Agra. Belgian Capuchin prelates headed Lahore diocese from its erection in 1886 until 1975.

Often called "grandmother diocese" for the entire Punjab province, its boundaries underwent several changes during the later years thus giving birth to Islamabad Rawalpindi diocese and Multan diocese. The diocese of Faisalabad was created from Multan diocese.

On April 23, 1994, Lahore became an Archdiocese. Lahore is also Pakistan's second-largest city. Often referred to as the cultural heart of the country, it is the center of Pakistani arts, films and intelligentsia.

Climate

The territory is under an atypical version of a humid subtropical climate with long and extremely hot summers, dry and relatively mild winters, a monsoon and dust storms. Temperature ranges from 48 degrees Celsius in summer to minus 1 degrees Celsius in winters.

Topography

In a land area of around 23,069 square kilometers, the archdiocese covers the districts of Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nankana-Sahib, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Narowal and Hafizabad.

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