Diocese of San Pablo

The Diocese of San Pablo was erected by the Apostolic Letter Ecclesianum Perempla on November 28, 1966, separating it from the Archdiocese of Lipa to which it had belonged since 1910. On April 18, 1967, Bishop Pedro N. Bantigue was installed as its first bishop. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of The diocese comprises the territories of San Pablo City and the civil province of Laguna. This province lies in southern Luzon and is one of the Tagalog-speaking provinces that lie in close proximity to the City of Manila. It hems in three sides of Laguna Lake, the largest inland lake in the country which is also called Laguna Bay as it is believed that it had once been part of Manila. Its neighbors are Rizal, Cavite, Batangas and Quezon provinces, all belonging to Region IV.

Nature has blessed Laguna with fertile soil, abundant rainfall and a mild tropical climate. It is where the University of the Philippines agricultural school is located, and where the International Rice Institute continues to experiment with different strains of rice. The province is now part of the government's industrialization program called the CALABARZON.

Historically Calamba in Laguna is known by every school child in the country as the birthplace of the Philippines' national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal � the personification of a people's struggle against exploitation.

When Bishop Pedro N. Bantigue arrived, there were only 48 diocesan priests for 34 parishes. Some of the parishes like San Pablo, Calamba and Bi�an had large populations scattered over wide territories. As new priests were recruited, and eventually new priests of the diocese were ordained, new parishes were finally created. In the last twenty-eight years, the number of parishes has doubled. At present there are 67 parishes in the entire province.

Part of the solution to the lack of priests was the opening of a high school seminary in San Pablo City in 1968. This minor seminary stayed open for about thirteen years until 1981 when St. Peter's Seminary, a college seminary, was established. In March 1985, the seminary produced its first thirteen graduates, and in 1989, eleven of those first graduates were ordained to the priesthood. Since then these ordinations have continued, and this has contributed immensely to a revitalization of the religious life of the community.

At present the religious outlook of the Catholic faithful in the diocese is at a high peak. A large number of lay people participate in the religious activities of the parishes. Churches are packed full on Sundays. But more work remains to be done to reach out to the far-flung areas and to impart religious instruction to a still growing population now in the vicinity of 3,005,785 of whom 85 per cent are Catholics {2,632,244)

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