Category Archives: Diocesan History

History of the Archdiocese of Palo

The Archdiocese of Palo in the island of Leyte was first created a diocese on November 28,1937, and then elevated to an archdiocese on November 15,1982 with four suffragan dioceses: Calbayog, Borongan. Catarman and Naval.

Up until the 18th century, Leyte and Samar were considered by the Spanish government as one single political unit under their original names of Tendaya and lbabao. They were then under the jurisdiction of the Spanish government in Cebu. In 1735 they were separated from Cebu and became a single province with Carigara as the capital, disregarding the narrow body of water, the San Juanico

Strait, that separates them at one point. In 1768 they were split up into two separate provinces with Tacloban as the capital of Leyte. After the Second World War the island of Leyte was split up into the provinces of Leyte, comprising the upper three4burths, and that of Southern Leyte occupying the southeastern part of the island.

Leyte and Samar have a shared history. Both islands were the scene of the arrival of the, first Spanish expedition to the Philippines in 1521. Magellan first landed in Homonhon, a tiny island off the Samar coast. Later the first Catholic Mass in the country was celebrated on the island of Limasawa in the southern part of Leyte.

Historically Leyte has been a constant battlefield. A Filipino revolutionary leader, General Vicente Lukban, made Leyte his stronghold during the Philippine-American War. And during World War 11, the hero General Douglas MacArthur landed on Red Beach in Leyte to fulfill his promise to return to the Philippines to liberate it from the Japanese.

Today the Archdiocese of Palo (a major town in Leyte) comprises the civil province of Leyte, excluding four municipalities in the north which belong to the Diocese of Naval, and six towns in the southwest which belong to the Diocese of Maasin. it has a land area of 4,620 square kilometers and a population of 1, 165,565 of which 95 percent are Catholics.

The most recent event celebrated by the Archdiocese of Palo was the

400 Years of Formal Evangelization of the island of Leyte on July 16, 1905. Four hundred years earlier, the Jesuit missionaries Fray Pedro Chirino, Fray Cosme de Flores, Fray Juan del Campo and a layman, Gaspar Garay landed in Carigara and started the formal evangelization of the island. The Apostolic Nuncio Gian Vincenzo Moreni, with seven other bishops, the clergy of Palo aii(I of the suffragan dioceses concelebrated a thanksgiving Mass in Carigara before a crowd Of 30,000 from all the parishes of the archdiocese.

There are 47 parishes in the archdiocese which is divided into two districts: the Eastern District which speaks Waray and the Western District which speaks Cebuano. There are 7 vicariates in the cast comprising 34 parishes and 2 vicariates in the west with 13 parishes and I chaplaincy

There are 91 diocesan and 8 religious priests actively working in the archdiocese at present; 8 priests are pursuing further studies outside the archdiocese, and 18 are working out of the diocese. There is a total of 129 diocesan and 8 religious priests serving the Archdiocese of Palo.

There are two seminaries: the Sacred Heart Seminary founded in 1944 which offers high school, precollege, and philosophy education; the St. John Evangelist School of Theology founded in 1988, which serves not only the metropolitan province but also the Dioceses of Maasin, Surigao, Davao, Mati and Tagum.

After the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, the archdiocese released its 1985 Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan to realign it with the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines. After the emergence of the Revised Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan, the parishes will be in the process of forming their own Parish Pastoral Plans, to conform with that of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan.

Source: CBCP Online


History of the Archdiocese of Jaro

The Archdiocese of Jaro is one of the oldest dioceses in the country. It was created a diocese by virtue of a papal bull of Pope Pius IX on May 27, 1865, according to a document signed by Archbishop Gregorio Martinez, then Archbishop of Manila, under whole ecclesiastical province the new diocese belonged as suffragan.

Bishop Mariano Cuartero, a Dominican, took possession of the diocese on April 25, 1868. The new diocese then included the entire island of Panay (today’s Capiz, Aklan, Iloilo and Antique provinces), Negros Island, Romblon and Palawan in the Visayas: Jolo, Zamboanga, Cotabato and Davao on the island of Mindanao. This vast territory was later divided to form new ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Zamboanga in 1910, Bacolod in 1933, Capiz in 1951 and San Jose de Antique in 1962.

On June 29, 1951, a papal bull by His Holiness Pope Plus XII raised Jaro to an archdiocese, with the dioceses of Bacolod, Capiz and the then Prelature Nullius of Antique as suffragans. The Most Reverend Jose Ma. Cuenco was raised to the rank of Metropolitan Archbishop of Jaro.

The Archdiocese of Jaro today comprises the entire civil province of Iloilo and the sub-province of Guimaras, a small island off its south eastern coast. with San Jose de Antique, San Carlos of Negros Occidental and Kabankalan, also of Negros Occidental, as suffragans. Out of its population of 1,761,419,89 per cent are Catholics. Its titutar patron is St. Elizabeth of Hungary, whose feast is celebrated on November 17.

The province of Iloilo occupies the southeastern portion of Panay Island in the region known as Western Visayas or Region VI, one of the richest regions in the country. It is separated from Guimaras Island by the Iloilo Strait, and is bounded on the north by the province of Capiz, on the west by Antique, on the east by Guimaras Strait and on the south by Panay Gulf. Iloilo City has been the capital of the province since 1688, and included within it are the towns of Manduriao, Jaro, La Paz, Arevalo and Molo.

Iloilo shares with her sister provinces the history of a Malay settlement on the Island of Panay on the 13th century, when ten Bornean datus bought the lowlands from the Negritos with gold and ornaments. This particular area, that of Iloilo, was called Irong-Irong which the Spaniards later changed to Iloilo. The political partition with Capiz took place in 1716, and that with Antique in 1796.

Iloilo City, of which Jaro is part, became a chartered city in 1936, although foreign trade already existed from this seaport since 1850. The original stock of Negritosand Borneans is now hardly recognizable, with Ilonggos, Visayans and Tagalogspredominating. Its old houses and churches still show traces of Spanish influence.

Ecclesiastically, the Archdiocese of Jaro holds some noteworthy historical notes showing the vibrant faith of its deeply Christian population. Its St. Vincent Seminary has produced one cardinal (Jaime Cardinal Sin), two archbishops and six bishops. In number of religious sisters it ranks second only to Manila; in number of parishes and secular priests it ranks third after Manila and Cebu. The first Carmelite Monastery and the first Trappist Monastery in the country were founded within the Archdiocese of Jaro.

With its Christian roots deep in fidelity to the Catholic Church, the Archdiocese of Jaro today faces the challenges of Vatican II and the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines. It is strengthened by an enthusiastic response from the laity working in cooperation with the clergy in a renewal effort that reaches down to the parochial levels. Old historic churches stand side by side with new ones and are filled to overflowing by the young and old gathered before the Eucharistic table, singing in praise of the Lord in Ilonggo and in English.

Source: CBCP Online