Cabanatuan diocese celebrates 60th year

Cabanatuan diocese celebrates 60th year
The Diocese of Cabanatuan celebrated its 60th anniversary with a Mass presided over by papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown at the Saint Nicholas of Tolentino Cathedral on June 3, 2023. PHOTOS BY ROY LAGARDE

By Roy Lagarde

June 4, 2023

Cabanatuan City

The northern Philippine diocese of Cabanatuan with around a million Catholics marked the 60th year since its establishment.

Papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown on Saturday celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at Saint Nicholas of Tolentino Cathedral, with guests, including bishops from nearby dioceses.

In his homily, the nuncio asked the faithful to honor the people who gave them the faith.

“Walk their path, honor their memory, and respect the way they lived the faith and try to put into practice now what we see in the saints before us,” Brown said.

He encouraged the Catholics to be faithful in the synodal path “but remembering that the synodal aspect of the church is the church that has gone before us as well”.

“If we want to be faithful Catholics, we must walk in their footsteps,” the archbishop added.

One of the two dioceses that spans Nueva Ecija, Cabanatuan has 30 parishes covering 15 towns in the southern part of the province including the cities of Palayan and Gapan.

February 2023 is 60 years since the saint, Pope John XXIII, created the diocese out of territories taken from what was then the Diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan and the Diocese of San Fernando.

In June 1963, Bishop Mariano Gaviola was ordained and installed in the Cabanatuan Cathedral as the first bishop of the diocese. At that time, the ecclesiastical territory comprised the entire Nueva Ecija.

In 1984, the diocese was then split into two, with the new Diocese of San Jose governing the northern part of the province.

The current bishop of Cabanatuan, Sofronio Bancud, said that six decades was a “long arduous journey but what stands out in all of these journeys is the loving presence of the Lord”.

“We were able to go through this journey and faced all these kinds of challenges because of the love of God,” Bancud said.


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