Davao became a Catholic community as early as 1848
when the Augustinian Recollects arrived, then the Jesuits after them.
Davao City used to be the capital of the entire Davao Province until it became a chartered city on October 16,
1936. 1 n 1967 the province of Davao was subdivided into three: Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental.
Davao City is situated in the province of Davao del Sur. It
lies on the eastern edge of the province facing the Davao Gulf which opens out to the Celebes Sea. Although Davao City is no longer the capital of what used to be
the entire Davao Province, it has remained a principal commercial center for all the Davao provinces and the eastern and southeastern sections of Mindanao. In land
area it is among the biggest cities in the world. It is populated mostly by migrants and is involved actively in inter-island as well as foreign shipping. Its beaches, and
the Aguinaldo Pearl Farm, have become tourist attractions.
The Prelature Nullius of Davao was established on December 17, 1949. It was elevated into a diocese on July 11, 1966, and into an archdiocese on June 29,
1970. The archdiocese comprises the city of Davao, Samal island, and the municipality of Talicud in Davao del Norte. It has under its jurisdiction the suffragan
Dioceses of Digos, Tagum, and Mati - three towns that are now the capital cities of the three Davao provinces. Its titular patron is St. Peter the Apostle, whose feast is
celebrated June 29. The population of the archdiocese is 918,520,of which 88 per cent are Catholics.
The First Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly of Davao (APAD 1) was held on
November 4 - 6, 1982. Other pastoral conferences were held after this to confirm throughout the succeeding years the realization that God had been working through
the Holy Spirit in Davao, where the people are disposed to listen and to readily accept Jesus Christ and the Good News when properly and adequately oriented.
Spurred on by the innovations of the Vatican Council 11, the Archdiocese of Davao moved to solidify its faith structures - the seminaries, schools, parish churches.
Pastoral programs for service were identified and given new impetus.
The decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP 11), already
recognized by the Holy See and promulgated to the Filipino people on July 22, 1992, have been a great source of direction with its "vision of ourselves as a
Community of Disciples, centering our lives in Jesus and following Him in His mission of salvation and Liberation through urgent renewal."
To implement the decrees of PCP 11, the Second Archdiocesan Pastoral
Assembly of Davao (APAD 11) was convened May 9 - 14, 1994. Taking a second look at the vision of the archdiocese, reassessing its pastoral situation, and
planning out the next five to ten years, APAD 11 has stated its new vision-mission: "in a situation of a society distressed by widespread and dehumanizing poverty,
souci-political injustices, cultural and religious decadence, the faithful and clergy of the Archdiocese of Davao envision a community of disciples afire with the Holy
Spirit, mature in faith, and witnessing truth. love, freedom, justice and peace."
in implementation of its mission, the faithful Commit themselves to a radical
conversion, to an integrity of life, to a participative Church of the Poor, to renewed integral evangelization and to a restoration of Filipino values.
The Archdiocese of Davao is headed by Archbishop Antonio LI. Mabutas, aided by Bishop Emeritus Charles Van Den Ouwelant, a native of Holland. Administering to
the faithful are 59 diocesan and 68 religious priests, a total of 127. There are also 19 religious brothers and 352 religious sisters in the archdiocese which comprises 75 parishes under 5 vicariates.
Catholic eduacational institutions include 3 seminaries, 2 universities, 6 colleges, and 14 high schools.