The Apostolic Vicariate of Quetta is the largest in the country by geographical area but most impoverished both ecclesiastically and economically. It is the poorest and least populated church jurisdiction.
Cultural landscape of Balochistan portrays various ethnic groups. People speak different languages including Balochi, Brahvi, Pashto and Urdu.
Quetta Apostolic Vicariate has its roots beginning in the reign of the British Empire in 1697, when the Vicariate of the Great Mogul was established, which included the lands Balohistan. In 1832, the Vicariate formed a part of the Archdiocese of Bombay and in 1878 it was passed to the mission of Afghanistan, which had been entrusted to the Mill Hill missionaries. Quetta, in the years to follow would be visited by Jesuits (who left in 1935) and then Franciscans (until 1982). In 1982, the pastoral care of the local community was entrusted to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), later reinforced by Salesians.
The climate of the upper highlands is characterized by very cold winters and warm summers. Winters of the lower highlands vary from extremely cold in the northern districts to mild conditions closer to the Makran coast. Summers are hot and dry. The arid zones of Chaghi and Kharan districts are extremely hot in summer. The plain areas are also very hot in summer with temperatures rising as high as 50 degrees C (120 degrees F). Winters are mild on the plains with the temperature, never falling below the freezing point. The desert climate is characterized by hot and very arid conditions. Occasionally strong windstorms make these areas very inhospitable.
Balochistan is rich in mineral resources; it is the second major supplier, after Sindh province, of natural gas. In the period spanning 1972-73 to 2005-06 the provincial economy expanded by 2.7 per cent per annum which was much slower than the performance of the other four provinces. It scores lowest in 10 key indicators for education, literacy, health, water and sanitation for 2006-07.
It comprises the entire province of Balochistan, that constitutes about 44% of the entire territory of Pakistan. It extends over an area of 347,188 square kilometers. It includes divisions of Quetta, Kalat, Saibi, Zhob, Nasirabad and Makran. It also includes districts of Quetta, Killa saifullah, Chagai, Pishin, Kila Abdullah, Kalat, Awaran, Mastung, Kharan, Las Bela, Khuzdar, Sibi, Ziarat, Kohlu, Dera Bugti, Zhob, Musa Khel Bazar, Barkhan, Loralai, Nasirabad, Jhal Magri, Bolan, Khachhi, Jafarabad, Gwadar, Panjgur and Turbat.
A number of tribes constitute to make people of Balochistan. Three major tribes are Baloch, Pashtoon and Brahvi. The tribal chief is called Sardar while head of sub-tribe is known as Malik or Mir. Sardars and Maliks are members of district and other local Jirgas according to their status. The Baluchis, believed to have originally come from Arabia or Asia minor. Most of Brahvi speaking tribes are bi-lingual and are quite fluent both in the Baluchi and Brahvi Languages. There are Pashtoon tribes alsoPopular instruments in Balochi music are the sarod, doneli, and benju. Of special note are Sepad, Shabtagi, Vazbad, Lullaby, and Zayirak, various melodies which are sung in rituals after the birth of a child, while lullabies are sung to infants and children.
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.