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