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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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Diocese of Baucau

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Diocese of Baucau
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Baucau is the second-largest city in East Timor, after Dili, the capital, which lies 122 km east of Dili.

Baucau has about 16,000 inhabitants, and is the capital of Baucau, located in the eastern part of the country. In the times of Portuguese Timor, Baucau was called Vila Salazar, after the Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar.

History

Much of the infrastructure of the city and the surrounding area was damaged or destroyed during the riots that followed the referendum for independence in 1999. Nevertheless, in the old part of Baucau there survive a few relics from the Portuguese colonial era, such as large colonial houses, churches, and public buildings. One of these is the Pousada de Baucau, a large pink hotel whose restaurant offers a magnificent view of the ocean.

The shops, restaurants, and street market stalls (predominately fruit and vegetable sellers) conduct business, although unemployment, particularly among the young, is very high. There are a few successful experiments that have converted old war-oriented businesses into light engineering, new businesses such as East Timor Roofing that has generated employment and training opportunities and a league of small businesses are beginning in the areas of hygiene and health, food production and processing, transport, small retail, and tourism. The convent next to the Pousada de Baucau has a small retail outlet selling locally produced hand crafts. Baucau also has a hospital, a nursing school and a swimming pool owned by the Pousada de Baucau.

Transportation

Six kilometers from the city lies the Cakung Airport (code IATA: NCH), a.k.a. LANUD for the local people. It has what is currently the country's longest airport runway, as Dili's Lobato International Airport can only serve small aircraft like the Boeing 737. It served as the country's principal airport before the Indonesian invasion in 1975, when it was taken over by the Indonesian military.

Religion

Baucau is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baucau, one of the two Bishoprics in East Timor. It was founded on November 30, 1996, when the bishopric in Dili split. Its bishop is Basilio do Nascimento.

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