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Diocese of Legazpi

Legazpi is the capital city of the province of Albay in that geographical region known as Bicolandia. This region is in the extreme south of Luzon Island and forms what is called the Bicol Peninsula. The five provinces comprising the region Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon and Catanduanes speak a common dialect, the Bicol dialect.

The Diocese of Legazpi was created on June 29, 1951 and is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres. From the year 1595 when the Diocese of Caceres was created, the portion of the Bicol Peninsula known as Partido Ibalon, now Sorsogon and Albay, has always been under the jurisdiction of Nueva Caceres. Even as it became a diocese of its own, it has remained a suffragan of the now Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres.

The Diocese of Legazpi comprises the civil province of Albay, a province with a population of almost one million, 97 per cent of which are Catholics. For its titular patron it has Our Lady Mother of Salvation, and for its secondary patron St. Gregory the Great.

Albay lies between Sorsogon and Camarines Sur Provinces. It is a province of subpeninsulas and a lengthy coastline, bounded on the north and northeast by Camarines Sur and Lagonoy Gulf, on the south of Sorsogon, on the east by the Pacific Ocean and on the west by Burias Pass. It has within its territory the famous Mayon Volcano with an elevation of 2,421 meters and the most perfect cone in the world. But this beautiful mountain is also known for its fury during eruptions, burying whole towns, including churches, with boulders, lava and ash. The province also lies well within the "typhoon belt" of the country, which adds to its disasters year after year.

Spanish conquistadores explored the place in the 17th century, and with them came the first missionaries. They found a place called Sawagnan which, in 1616 came to be known as Albaybay , forerunner of its present name.

The diocese is organized today into 37 parishes, 18 of which are in town centers and 19 in rural villages. As claimed by sources within the diocese, only 25 per cent of the baptized are regular churchgoers.

The people sustain themselves mainly through rice and coconut farming, employment in government service and private companies, and small businesses. Unemployment is high, and about 70 per cent of families fall below the poverty line. A small group of middle-class educated professionals and businessmen provide the leadership in the towns.

Given these poor socio-economic conditions of the diocesan population, the local Church is limited in its ability to conduct formation programs for the development of its leaders on a sustained basis because of training costs involved. Hence the need for financial assistance from sister churches in the industrialized and economically advanced countries.

In 1991 the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines strongly recommended a National Pastoral Plan for adoption by all the dioceses of the country, after a thorough analysis of the pastoral problems confronting the Church. In April 1993, the Diocese of Legazpi, under the leadership of its new bishop, the Most Reverend Jose C. Sorra, began a process of reorganization of its pastoral structures in order to re-orient the local church to "building a community of Christ's disciples, with a preferential option for the poor through integral evangelization."

As various sectoral leaders of the church met to draw up plans and programs, it was recognized that the key leaders of the diocese working in institutions and at home, were in need of an integrated formation program that would promote a common understanding of the Diocesan Vision and Mission.

This proposed integrated formation program for diocesan leaders therefore aims to strengthen the capabilities of diocesan and parish workers to effectively translate the Diocesan Vision and Mission into operational programs and plans of action.

The proposed integrated formation program for diocesan leaders has seven major components.

Clergy Formation is a series of seminar-workshops that will eventually cover a total of 100 priests all over the diocese. The activity aims to re-orient the clergy toward the vision of the Second Plenary Council.

Catechists' Training includes a summer institute for 100 parish catechists currently employed, using the new Catechism of the Catholic Church; basic orientation for new catechists, a 10-day stay-in activity; and monthly in-service training, a follow-up activity to ensure continuity of functions.

Formation of Parish Youth Workers is a one-year diocesan-wide training program for 75 parish youth leaders.

Value Formation for School Administrators includes students of Catholic schools. This component of the program aims to provide the 60 administrators of Catholic schools in the diocese with a thorough updating of the vision-mission of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines for integration in their school curricula.

Formation Program for Lay Leaders in Parishes envisions that all lay faithful, in partnership with the clergy and lay workers of the diocese, will become fully evangelizers at the same time.

Liturgy Commission will focus on formation seminars in three vicariates and the sending of two diocesan delegates to the National Liturgical Convention; a proposal for a local study grant for a priest to the Paul VI Institute on Liturgy in Malaybalay, Bukidnon; the production of cassette tapes for local distribution.

Family Life Apostolate through Christian couples, priests and laity, commits to the formation of Christian values centered on families.

 

 

Most Rev. Jose C. Sorra, D.D., MA
Ordained priest: March 17, 1956
Ordained bishop: August 28, 1974
Appointed Bishop of Legazpi: April 29, 1993

 

 

 

 

Most Rev. Lucilo B. Quiambao, D.D., STL, PhL, BSE
Episcopal Vicar of Legazpi
Ordained priest: April 2, 1960
Ordained bishop: April 27, 1982
Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Legazpi: March 24, 1982

 

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