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Bishop shares hopes as Antipolo diocese turns 34

Bishop shares hopes as Antipolo diocese turns 34
Guests, bishops, and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle are joined by the clergy of the Diocese of Antipolo. JUN FIGUEROA

MANILA – As the one of the largest dioceses in the Philippines in terms of Catholic population marked its 34th year on June 25, its chief shepherd shared his hopes for the future

“I pray for the spiritual upliftment of the clergy, laity, and seminarians of the diocese,” said Antipolo Bishop Francisco M. De Leon D.D., expressing hope that Antipolo’s priests will “smell like their flock.”

According to the prelate, the local church also needs to foster a “spirituality of stewardship” as well as to inspire more young men to the diocesan priesthood.

Originally part of the Archdiocese of Manila, the diocese was created Jan. 24, 1983 and was formally established on June 25 of the same year through a Papa Bull. “Then Pope John Paul II, saw the vast and growing population of the Philippine Catholic faith and was heedful of the need of the ministry,” reads an article.

Four bishops have since shepherded the diocese: Bishops Protacio Gungon, Crisostomo Yalung, Gabriel Reyes, and the current bishop, Bishop Francisco de Leon. From three vicariates and 21 parishes the diocese has since grown to nine vicariates and 64 parishes with more than 3 million faithful.

For more than three decades, the diocese has continued to nurture piety among the faithful through various devotions like its famous “alay-lakad” every Holy Week; promote Christian values and education through diocesan and religious education centers; encourage vocations through seminary and vocation programs; assist in addressing social issues through institutions for the elderly and orphans, and through poverty alleviation projects. (With reports from Emman Velasco/