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Santa Catharina

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(FLORIANOPOLIS; FLORIANOPOLITANA).

Diocese ; suffragan see of the Archdiocese of Porto Alegre (São Pedro do Rio Grande), in Brazil, South America, created in 1906. Its jurisdiction comprises the whole territory of the State of Santa Catharina, with a Catholic population of 405,800 out of a total of about 500,000 in 1909. It is conjectured that in 1515 Juan Díaz Solís and Vicente Yañez Pinzón were the first white men who explored this territory, landing in the Bay dos Perdidos; Sebastian Cabot in 1525 and Diego García in 1526 disembarked on the Island of Santa Catharina, then known as the Island of Patos, and thence they proceeded to the River Plate. Santa Catharina was constituted as a state of the Brazilian Union 11 Jun., 1891, having adhered to the republic on 17 Nov., 1890. The diocese comprises the following vicariates: Florianopolis, Santo Antonio, Blumenau, Brusque, Cresciuma, São Francisco, Itajahy, Joinville, Garopaba, Lages, Laguna, Tijucas, Tubarão, Urussanga, and Villa Nova. The residence of the bishop is Florianopolis, the capital of the state, situated on the western shore of Santa Catharina Island, with a magnificent harbor, pleasant climate, and a population of 18,000.

Besides the cathedral, there are at Florianopolis 12 churches, 2 monasteries (Franciscans and Jesuits ), and 2 nunneries (Sisters of the Divine Providence, and Sisters of the Immaculate Conception ). The diocese maintains an excellent high school in the state capital, known as the Gymnasio de Santa Catharina. There is also a college for girls, in charge of the Sisters of the Divine Providence , called Collegio Coração de Jesus. The same sisters have an asylum for orphan girls. Florianopolis has 12 Catholic cemeteries, 1 Protestant, and 1 municipal. The Franciscan Friars publish two periodicals in the diocese, one entitled "L'Amico", in the city of Blumenau, and another, "Sineta de Céo", in the city of Lages. There is another Catholic publication, edited in Florianopolis by the Associação Protectora des Desamparados Irmão Joaquim, under the name of "A Fe". The present bishop. of Santa Catharina, Rt. Rev. João Becker, was b. 24 Feb., 1879, and appointed 3 May, 1908.

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