(De Serena, Serenopolitana).
Embracing Atacama and Coquimbo provinces (Chile), suffragan of Santiago, erected 1 July, 1840. The boundaries of the diocese were definitively established on 26 March, 1844; on 5 June, 1844, the first bishop, José Agustín de la Sierra, was installed. Mgr. Jara, fifth bishop, was appointed on 31 August, 1909. The diocesan territory exceeds 60,000 square miles, with a population ( Catholic ) of about 250,000. There are 64 secular, 35 regular priests ; 30 parishes ; 145 churches and chapels. The town of La Serena, with about 20,000 inhabitants, has 20 churches (including an imposing cathedral, erected 1844-60); boasts a seminary with 160 students; affords good educational facilities -- an orphan asylum, lazaretto, and foundling home. Sisters of Mercy, of the Good Shepherd, and of the Congregation of Piepus are active.
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