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(T UCUMANENSIS ).
Suffragan to Buenos Aires, erected from the Diocese of Salta on 15 February, 1897, comprises the Province of Tucumán (area 8926 sq. miles; population 325,000), in the north-west of the Argentine Republic. The first and present bishop, Mgr. Pablo Padilla y Bárana (b. at Jujuy, 25 Jan., 1848), was consecrated titular Bishop of Pentacomia (17 Dec., 1891), transferred to Salta, (19 Jan., 1893), and to Tucumán (16 Jan., 1898). The episcopal city, Tucumán, or San Miguel de Tucumán (population 80,000), is situated on the Rio Dulce, 780 miles north-west of Buenos Aires, and was founded in 1565 by Diego de Villaruel; a Jesuit college was opened there in 1586. In 1680 Tucumán replaced Santiago del Estero as capital of the province. The Spanish forces were utterly defeated at Tucumán in 1812 by the Argentinos under Belgrano, whose statue has been erected in the city to commemorate the victory. One of the most interesting monuments in Tucumán is Independence Hall, where the Argentine delegates proclaimed (9 July, 1816) the Río de la Plata provinces free from Spanish domination. Of the twenty-seven members forming this National Congress fifteen were priests (as were two other delegates who were unavoidably absent, and the secretary of the assembly, José Agustín Molina, later Bishop of Camaco in partibus and Vicar Apostolic of Salta ); two of the fifteen were afterwards raised to episcopal rank — José Colombres (Salta) and Justo Santa María de Oro (Cuyo). It is to be noted that the See of Córdoba, founded in 1570, was generally referred to in the seventeenth century as that of Tucumán (Córdoba de Tucumán).
On 21 January, 1910, the Province of Catamarca (area 47,531 sq. miles; population 107,000), which till then had been a vicariate forane of Tucumán, was erected into a separate see under Mgr. Bernabé Piedrabuena (b. at Tucumán, 10 Nov., 1863; consecrated titular Bishop of Cestrus and coadjutor to Mgr. Padillo, 31 May, 1908; transferred to Catamarca, 8 Nov., 1910). Before the separation, Tucumán had 15 parishes, 67 churches and chapels, and Catamarca 15 parishes, 96 churches and chapels ; there were 60 secular priests, assisted by Dominicans, Franciscans, and Fathers of Our Lady of Lourdes; there was a conciliar seminary with 3 students of philosophy and 60 rhetoricians; 7 theological students were studying at Buenos Aires and the Collegio Pio-Latino, Rome ; in addition there were two Catholic colleges at Tucumán and one at Catamarca; there were communities of the Hermanas Esclavas, Dominican, Franciscan, Good Shepherd, and Josephine Sisters. A Catholic daily paper is published at Tucumán and two Catholic weeklies at Catamarca. A large number of the parishes have the usual Catholic sodalities and con-fraternities. Workingmen's circles are established in the two episcopal cities. Catamarca (San Fernando de Catamarca), lying 230 miles north-north-west of Córdoba, contains 8000 inhabitants. It was founded in 1680 by Fernando de Mendoza. The National College, which has a chair of mineralogy, is located in the old Merced Convent. Most of the inhabitants of the Province of Catamarca are mestizos, descendants of the Quilene, Cilian, Andagala, and Guafare Indians. Cholla (a suburb of Catamarca) is inhabited by Calchaqui Indians, but Spanish is now the only language spoken.
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