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Vera Cruz

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Diocese of the Mexican Republic, suffragan of the Archbishopric of Mexico. Its area covers all the State of Vera Cruz with the exception of one or two parishes in the northern part which belong to Tamaulipas, one in the western part which belongs to the Diocese of Tulancingo and a few others in the southern part which are a part of the Bishopric of Tehuantepec. Its population amounts to 1,124,368. The capital of the State, which is the residence of the bishop,is Jalapa, 4335 feet above the level of the sea, and has a population of 24,816 inhabitants. (Census of 1910). When Hernando Cortés landed at what is now the seaport of Vera Cruz on 2 April, 1519 ( Good Friday, whence the town obtained its name) he was accompanied by Father Fray Bartolome de Olmedo, who was intrusted with the spiritual direction of the new colony founded by this audacious leader. With them was the licenciado, Juan Diaz, and the deacon, Geronimo Aguilar, who, having been kept a prisoner by the Indians for a few years, knew their language and acted as interpreter for the expedition. From a letter written by Hernando Cortés to the Emperor Charles V, it is known that on 15 Oct., 1524, there were parishes, with their rectors, sextons, and ornaments, in Vera Cruz.

During the first century of the existence of the colony, Vera Cruz was considered of such importance, and Christianity had made such headway, that the establishment of a bishopric was thought advisable. In consequence, the viceroy, Martin Enriquez, brought over a royal decree in which the name of Father Fray Domingo Tineo Dominico was presented for the bishopric ; but when the nomination was received in 1567, a year had already elapsed since the candidate had died at Puebla. While passing through Vera Cruz, Bishop Luis de Penalver of New Orleans, who had been promoted to the Metropolitan See of Guatemala, was asked by the Church Board of Vera Cruz to visit the coast of Sotavento which had not been visited by a bishop for a period of forty years; Bishop Penalver complied with this request and in his report showed the necessity of establishing a bishopric in that country with Vera Cruz in its episcopal see. This request was granted in 1804 but was never fulfilled. Futile attempts were also made in 1835 and 1845; finally, Pius IX , in a secret consistory on 19 March, 1863, named Francisco Francisco Suárez Peredo, Bishop of Vera Cruz, and the bishop established his residence in Jalapa, the city in which his successor still resides. The parishes of this diocese were taken from the Bishopric of Puebla and Oaxaca ; since its establishment it has always been suffragan of the Archbishopric of Mexico. It has a seminary with a few alumni; 57 parochial schools and 11 Catholic colleges which have about 5205 students; it has 61 parishes and 3 permanent vicariates. There are 3 Protestant colleges with 113 students and 5 Protestant churches in this diocese. The most important city of the Diocese is Vera Cruz, the principal seaport of the Republic of Mexico, situated not far from the town founded by Cortés. Only a few ruins are left today to attest the good work inspired by the faithful of the times, where stood a great many convents at the time of the colony. It was there that the Franciscan Fathers, the Dominican Fathers, the Barefooted Carmelites, and other orders made their residences.

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