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.
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.