The Prefecture Apostolic of Hualien was established in 1952, carved out from Kaohsiung Prefecture Apostolic. Hualien was made a diocese in 1963.
Hualien diocese comprises Hualien city and county as well as Taitung city and county on the eastern coast of Taiwan.
Taitung is home to Ami, Bunun, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai and Yami tribes. At present, there are 10 aboriginal priests serving.
Before Hualien diocese was established, Hualien county was under the jurisdiction of Taipei archdiocese and Taitung was under the jurisdiction of Kaohsiung diocese. Since Taipei and Kaohsiung were faraway from the eastern part of Taiwan, there were only one priest and eight nuns serving there and there were little or no Church activities in most part of Hualien and Taitung.
In 1951, Bishop André-Jean Vérineux, MEP (1897-1983) recognized that the people in the eastern part of Taiwan did not have a religious faith and live in a backward environment. He felt merciful to the simple live of the unsophisticated indigenous and suggested to the Holy See to create a new diocese there. In 1952, Hualien diocese was thus established.
The geographical locations had motivated many missioners such as Swiss Bethlehem missioners there to live on the mountains to preach among aboriginals. The diocese of Hualien covers 8,144 square kilometers.
Hualien County covers 4,629 square kilometers and has a population of 342,400 as of July 2008. Including Hualien city, there are 25 parishes in the county. It is the largest county in Taiwan, which locates on the mountainous eastern coast of Taiwan. It faces the immense Pacific Ocean in the east and leans against the grand Central Mountain Range in the west. It is famous for its beautiful scenery. The natural resources in Taroko National Park, East Coast National Scenic Area, East Rift Valley Scenic Area and Yushan National Park make Hualien the most beautiful county in Taiwan.
Taitung County covers 5,315 square kilometers and has a population of 232,452 as of July 2008. There are 20 parishes in the county. Taitung accounts for about one tenth of the area of Taiwan, representing the third largest county in Taiwan. It is located on the boundary between the Philippine and Eurasian plates and its spectacular landform of the mountains and coasts was the result of the collision between these plates for millions of years and the resulting organic events and also the erosion caused by the rivers and waves.
On every first Friday of the month thousands of Catholics flock to Holy Cross Church of Cherpunkal in Kerala, India to revere Infant Jesus and St. Thomas, the founder of the church. The church stands on the southern bank of Meenachil River. This fabled church, also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross)Church, belongs to Catholic Diocese of Palai of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
St. Joseph’s Church in Lahore is the oldest Catholic Church in Pakistan that has flourished since the 19th century despite deadly sectarian violence in recent years. The church at Sarfaraz Rafiqui Road in Lahore was established as a wooden structure during the British colonial era, on Oct. 31, 1842, to provide pastoral care to the British soldiers. It completed 180 years this year.
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.
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.
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.