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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?

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Diocese of Da Nang

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Diocese of Da Nang
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Da Nang diocese was founded on Jan. 18, 1963. It has a land area of 11,348.46 square kilometers and covers Da Nang City and Quang Nam province.

The diocese was the birthplace of Catholicism in southern Vietnam. Three foreign Jesuit missioners landed at Hoi An, a famous ancient town, on Jan. 18, 1615, and began their evangelization work. One of the fruits of their evangelization was the first Vietnamese Blessed, Blessed Andrew of Phu Yen, who was a catechist. He was born in 1625 and beheaded on July 26, 1644, at the age of 19. On March 5, 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified the youth, regarded as the first Vietnamese Catholic martyr.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Da Nang was one of the biggest evangelization centers in the Cochinchine diocese (southern Vietnam), and a safe place for foreign missioners.

As of 2016, the diocese had a population of 2,348,071 including about 70,000 ethnic groups of Co, Co Tu, Gie Trieng and So Dang within its territory.

The Marian Shrine of Tra Kieu, located in Quang Nam province, is a famous pilgrimage site. In September 1885, the Blessed Mother reportedly appeared atop the church of the predominantly Catholic village of Tra Kieu to help parishioners defeat royal soldiers who were trying to exterminate Christian villagers.

Within the diocese is My Son Shrine, a complex of mosques and religious relics of the Champa Kingdom. The Champa ethnic group, who were mostly Hindus, built the shrine in the fourth century. Da Nang city is the most major trading center in central Vietnam. Its services include civil aviation, shipping, travel and tourism.

 

Diocesan website: www.giaophandanang.org

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