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?

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Diocese of Taichung

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Diocese of Taichung
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Taiwan (Republic of China) lies 129 kilometers off the southeast coast of mainland China. "Taichung" literally means central Taiwan. 

Taichung was founded in 1721 by immigrants from the Chinese mainland. Its original name was "Tatun" or "Big Mound." Its present name was adopted by the Japanese after they took possession of Taiwan in 1895. 

Most Taiwanese are Han Chinese, descendants of migrants who came from mainland China in 1644. Following the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 100,000 nationalists fled to Taiwan. They established themselves as a ruling class and monopolized the most prestigious jobs in the civil service. Apart from the Han Chinese, about 2 percent of the population are aborigines from 10 main tribes. 

Taichung, the third largest metropolitan on the island, is located on the plains about 20 km from the coast and 150 km south of the capital Taipei. 

In a total land area of 7,395.7288 square kilometers, the diocese of Taichung includes Taichung city, Taichung county, Changhua county and Nantou county.


Taichung City:
The land area of Taichung city is 163.4256 square kilometers and has a population of 1,062,937 as of July 2008. It is known as an educational and cultural center. There are 9 parishes in the city and a pastoral center for Filipino migrant workers. 

Taichung County: 
The land area of Taichung county is 2,051.4712 square kilometers and has a population of 1,554,266 as of July 2008. It comprises of three cities, 5 towns and 13 townships with 13 parishes. 

Changhua County: 
Changhua county covers 1,074.40 square kilometers and has a population of 1,316,762 as of September 2005. The 14 parishes there cover one city, seven towns and 18 townships. 

Nantou County: 
The land area of Changhua county is 1,074.3960 square kilometers and has a population of 1,312,737 as of July 2008. The 14 parishes there covers one city, seven towns and 18 townships.


Mandarin Chinese is the official language of Taiwan. However, at least half the population prefers to speak Taiwanese at home, especially for people living the southern region. Taiwanese, or the "Minnan" dialect, is originated from Fujian province of mainland China. Minnan means "south of the Min River." Many older people know Japanese as a result of the 50-years (1874-1947) occupation of Taiwan by Japan. Taiwan's 10 aboriginal tribes each have their own language. These languages bear no relation at all to Chinese, and are generally regarded as Malayo Polynesian in origin. 


Taichung enjoys a mild climate all year round with a yearly average temperature at 23 degrees Celsius.


Business and industries are more concentrated in Taichung city and the region near the Taichung port, whereas agriculture is more prevalent in the three counties. 

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