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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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Archdiocese of Taipei

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Archdiocese of Taipei
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Taipei archdiocese is situated at the northern part of Taiwan, which includes Taipei City, Keelung City, Taipei and Ilan counties. It covers a total area of 4,605 square kilometers.

Spanish missionaries arrived Taiwan in 1626 when Taiwan was part of Fujian Apostolic Vicariate. However, it did not take root there. In 1883, Taiwan became part of Xiamen Apostolic Vicariate. Taiwan Apostolic Prefecture established in 1913 and ran by Spanish Dominicans.

In 1950, Taiwan split into 3 Apostolic Prefecture which are Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung. Substantial Church growth began since then after many priests, nuns and missioners left mainland China, following Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) members who retreated to Taiwan when the Communists took over the mainland in 1949.

To the east of Taipei is the Pacific Ocean, while to the north and west the Taiwan Strait. With an area of 278 square kilometers, Taipei has 12 administrative districts, namely Songshan, Zhongzheng, Datong, Wanhua, Wenshan, Nangang, Neihu, Shilin, Beitou, Zhongshan, Da'an and Xinyi, with Da'an the most densely populated while Shilin and Beitou the least.

Language

Mandarin Chinese is the official language of Taiwan. However, at least half the population prefer to speak Taiwanese at home, especially for those living 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.

Location

Taipei city is the capital of Taiwan. It is the political, economic and cultural centre of Taiwan. In 1945, the central government of China designated Taiwan as a province and Taipei became a provincial-level municipality. Taipei became the provincial capital of Taiwan in 1949 when the central government of China relocated to Taiwan. As at July, 2008, Taipei city has a population of 2,628,699.

Keelung City, originally named Jilong (hencoop) before 1875, has an area of 133 square kilometers. It is situated at the northernmost of Taiwan. It is surrounded by mountains on its east, south and west, and on its north the Keelung Harbour faces the Pacific Ocean which reaches downtown. Due to the inconvenience to travel to other area in the olden days because of the mountainous landscape, it has its own marine culture. Keelung City is the largest port in Taiwan. Keeling City has 7 administrative districts and 7 subsidiary islands. As at July, 2008, it has a population of 389,213.

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