CENTER OF EVANGELIZATION OF MINDANAO

  

The beginning of Christianity i n Dipolog can be traced  farther back in  time  with arrival  of  the  Jesuits  missionaries,  shortly, after  St. Francis  Xavier's visit in MINDANAO.

In 1609,  Fr. Pascual  Acuna, S.J.,  Chaplain  of  the  Spanish  Squadron, started mission work in Mindanao  with  the  natives  in  the  area. Twenty  years after, 1629,  Fr. Pedro Gutierrez, S.J. founded the mission center in  Dapitan. This made Dapitan as the center of evangelization in Mindanao.

To  execute  fully  their  Christian  mission,  priests   from   Dapitan  were   assigned   to  make  periodic  visits  in  neighboring  barrios  and  sitios,  Dipolog included.

In 1769, on account of  their  expulsion from  the Philippines,  Augustinian Recollects who assumed the  ecclesiastical  administration  replaced  the Jesuit missionary priests. Fray Bernardo Teresa became the first superior in Dapitan. Sometime between 1796 and 1797 the Lubungan Parish, now  Katipunan Parish, was established with Dipolog under its jurisdiction. By
that time MINDANAO was under the ecclesiastical province  of  Jaro, this being the seat of the Augustinian Recollect.

Dipolog was then a Barrio in Dapitan. A pueblo was organized by a group of natives and Boholano pioneers led by a Spanish  missionary  priest,  in  Sianib, (now Mutia) a barrio about twenty  kilometers  from  the shoreline.  The   choice  of  location  was  based  about  twenty kilometers  from  the shoreline. The choice of location was  based upon the prevailing  circumstances of the time. Moro pirates and marauders endangered the coastal towns and settlements, so for security reason they chose the site far inland.
A "capilla" was erected through free labor and self-help.  Here  the  people congregated and heard mass. 

 


Dipolog Dioc
ese

 

When Moro piracy was no longer rampant, the people moved  nearer the seacoast, in sitio Isab, Nipa-an.  Here  they  built  another "capilla" on the hilltop overlooking the mouth of Isab Creek adjacent to a vast plain. Later the people felt the inconvenience in going  up and  down the hill to attend religious activities. So they moved to  Tulwanan in  Nipa-an.  Finally,  they
transferred to the opposite  side (Dipag) of the  river  and   constructed  a  Simbahan.

In 1868, the Jesuit returned  to  the  Philippines  and  resumed  their work  at the old Mindanao mission replacing the Augustinian  Recollect priests.  MINDANAO was returned to the ecclesiastical province  of Cebu  and  in 1870 the Jesuit came to Dipolog.

Rev. Fr.  Francisco  Martin   Luego, S.J.  sent  Rev.  Fr. Antonio  Obach,  S.J. to Dipolog. Rev. Fr. Antonio Obach  was the first  Jesuit  to  live here though assigned in the parish of Lubungan, now Katipunan. He occupied the old convent vacated by his predecessors, the Recollect priests.

Fr. Antonio Obach moved to Dapitan to take place of Fr. Juan Gelaberth, S.J.,  Cura  Parroco  of  Dapitan,  who  died. His  place in  Dipolog  was occupied by Fr. Jose  Ramon, S.J. Upon the  death  of  Fr. Jose  Ramon, another priest, Fr. Jose Villaclara, S.J., succeeded him. On July 13, 1892, Fr. Eusebio Barredo, S.J., succeeded Fr. Jose Villaclara as parish priest of Lubungan.

 

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

 

Since Dipolog was in the  Jurisdiction  of  Lubungan, Fr. Eusebio Barredo led the faithful of the place in the construction  of  the  convent on December 21, 1892 and was completed on April 17, 1893. His next project was the cemetery construction, which was  started on June 1, 1893  and completed on September 29, 1893. Finally, Fr. Eusebio  Barredos project in Dipolog was the church that was erected on April 1, 1894. The first mass in the new church was on June 29, 1894.

 

The old facade of the church when it was finished in 1896 it was since then redesigned. 

 

OldChurchloserview.jpg (56856 bytes)

A closer view of the church main entrance - An intricate design with keystone.
 

With this projects completed, Fr. Eusebio Barredo  prepared  Dipolog  to become a  parish. So on  June 30, 1896,  Dipolog  was  made  a  parish with the barrios of Polanco and Sianib under its jurisdiction by virtue of the  order from the mother parish of Lubungan. The  Governor  General of  the Obispado of the Philippines confirmed  the order  from  the  Obispada  of Cebu on October 30, 1896 and the  Royal  Approval from Spain  was  on
February 8, 1897.

churchceiling.jpg (42226 bytes)

The cathedral ceiling made out of Philippine hardwood "narra" in perfect preserved condition.
 

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