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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Diocese of Kiayi

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Diocese of Kiayi
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The diocese of Chiayi covers 2,442 square kilometers and includes Chiayi city and the counties of Chiayi and Yunlin.

Chiayi City
Chiayi city covers 60 square kilometers and has a population of 273,967 as of July 2008. There are 5 parishes in the city.

Chiayi County
Chiayi county covers 1,901 square kilometers and has a population of 549,002 as of July 2008. The 20 parishes there cover 2 cities, 2 towns and 14 villages in the county.

Yunlin County
Yunlin county covers 1,290 square kilometers and has a population of 724,994 as of July 2008. It comprises one city, five towns and 14 townships, and has 19 parishes.

Chuloshan, the ancient name of Chiayi, was given from two sources: one phonetically resembled the tribe name Tirosen, and the other came from a semantic utterance indicating "Mountains surround in the East."

Chuloshan was once the foothold of early immigrants from mainland China dated back to the early 17th century. The present name was awarded by Emperor Chien-Lung of the Qing dynasty in 1787 for praising the citizens' loyalty.

Chiayi, is located on the plains of Taiwan about 30 kilometers from the coast and 202.5 kilometers southwest of the capital Taipei.


Mandarin Chinese is the official language of Taiwan. However, at least half the population prefers to speak Taiwanese at home, especially for those living in the southern region. Taiwanese, or the "Minnan" dialect, originated from Fujian province of mainland China. Minnan means "south of the Min River." Many elderly people also understand Japanese as a result of the 1895 -1945 occupation of Taiwan by Japan. Taiwan's 10 aboriginal tribes each have its own language. These languages bear no relation at all to Chinese, and are generally regarded as Malayo Polynesian in origin.


Chiayi is located adjacent to the tropic of cancer, characterized by the subtropical monsoon climate. The city has an average temperature of 23.3 degrees Celsius.


A majority of the population of Chiayi city and Yunlin county is engaged in the service sector (70 percent), while Chiayi county is famous of its fruit plantation

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