In a land area of 5,955 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers Dong Nai province and Binh Duong province's Di An district. It is bounded on the north by Phu Cuong diocese; on the east by dioceses of Da Lat and Phan Thiet; on the south by Ba Ria diocese and on the west by Ho Chi Minh City archdiocese. Bien Hoa city, the first class and capital of Dong Nai province, is an industrial center surrounded by many foreign and domestic factories and warehouses. In 2010, it has a population of 784,000 and a land area of 264.08 square kilometers. It has a population density of 2,969 people per square kilometer.
In 2017, the diocese had a total population of 3,269,900, including ethnic minority groups of Cho ro, Khor, Ma, Stieng and Tay.
Vietnamese is mainly used in the diocesan territory. Ethnic languages are also in use within ethnic minority communities.
The origin of the Xuan Loc diocese goes back to first Catholics from central and northern Vietnam who escaped from religious persecution by soldiers at the end of the 17th century. Foreign Jesuits provided pastoral activities for them. At the same time, other people moved to the south during kings' campaigns to expand southern territories for centuries.
During the 1954 exodus, tens of thousands of Catholics from northern dioceses fled to the area to avoid communists. They formed Catholic villages in the province.
Xuan Loc diocese was separated from Sai Gon (now Ho Chi Minh City) archdiocese and established on Oct 14, 1965. Bishop Joseph Le Van An (1965-1974) was named the first prelate of the diocese. At its establishment, the diocese had 164,144 Catholics among a total population of 521,595, served by 154 priests and 250 Religious.
Bishop An built the Bishop's House and minor seminary.
The diocese's activities were limited after 1975, when the country was reunified under commuist rule.
Bishop Paul Nguyen Minh Nhat (1975-2004) issued new seminarian formation programs and restructured activities of lay associations and parish councils. The local Church also published catechism books that have been used by other dioceses so far.
Bishop Dominic Nguyen Chu Trinh, the fifth prelate of the diocese, built the new complex of Bishop's House, Pastoral Center and Major Seminary in 2009.
The major seminary gives priestly formation to students from Xuan Loc and its three neighboring dioceses of Ba Ria, Da Lat and Phan Thiet.
The diocese now aims to strengthen values of family and gives regular training courses to local clergy. It also provides vocational skills and scholarships for poor young people. Its top priorities are to build churches in remote areas and send lay missioners to areas without resident priests.
The diocese is suffragan of Ho Chi Minh City archdiocese.
Main transport is train, buses, motorcycles, bicycles and boats connecting Bien Hoa city to other provinces and Ho Chi Minh city.
The diocese has a tropical climate and features in two seasons - rainy season lasting from May to November and dry season lasting from December to April. It has an average annual temperature of 25-27 degrees of centigrade.
Local people mainly work as farmers who grow rice, rubber trees, fruit trees and others. Some raise shrim, crap and oyster. Other people work for domestic and foreign companies. Some villages make wood furniture. Dong Nai province is known for its large production of various kinds of fruit trees such as rambutan, durian and pomelo.
In 2010, the annual per capita income of people in rural areas is 18,720,000 dong (US$960 as of November 2010) and income of people in urban areas is 24,960,000 dong (US$1,280 as of November 2010).
The diocese has Buddhists, Muslims, Protestants and followers of indigenous Cao Dai and Hoa Hao. Hoa Hao Buddhist sect has a large propotion of followers. Many of them work with Catholic priests to build bridges over rivers in remote areas.
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
St. Joseph’s Church in Lahore is the oldest Catholic Church in Pakistan that has flourished since the 19th century despite deadly sectarian violence in recent years. The church at Sarfaraz Rafiqui Road in Lahore was established as a wooden structure during the British colonial era, on Oct. 31, 1842, to provide pastoral care to the British soldiers. It completed 180 years this year.
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.