The Archdiocese of Lipa today comprises the civil province
of Batangas located in the southwestern part of the island of Luzon. It is bounded on the north by the provinces of Cavite and Laguna, on the east by Tayabas Bay, and
Quezon Province, on the west by the China Sea, and on the south by the Balayan and Batangas Rays. Land area is 3,165 square kilometers, and population as of the 1994
census is 1,668,480 of which 99.5 per cent are Catholics.
The province surrounds Lake Taal from which Taal Volcano rises in the center. The rich soil of Batangas was formed from volcanic tuff coming
from the active volcanoes of Taal. The terrain is characterized by rolling hills, plateaus and low mountains, the highest of which is Mount Makiling which is only 1,109 meters in elevation.
The province is rich in natural resources. Almost 80 per cent of Batangueños have a piece of land to cultivate, and the Batangas farmer is a model farmer known for
his intensive cultivation of land. This was brought about in large part by big landowners selling portions of their land, thus eliminating social unrest.
Fishing and mineral reserves abound in the province which also has a number of manufacturing industries including petroleum refineries, sugar centrals, food and
beverage companies, and countless cottage industries. The coastline is dotted with beach resorts often frequented by local and foreign tourists. Specially the diving aficionados.
Because of stable sources of income, most families in Batangas can afford to send their children to schools and colleges in Batangas or in Manila. This explains why 90 per cent of the population is educated.
Batangas was originally called Balayan, with Taal as its first capital. In 1754 the capital was moved to Batangas, its capital today. Historically, Batangas is known
as the birth place of Apolinario Mabini, a Filipino hero known as the "Sublime Paralytic" who became Secretary of State of the First Philippine Republic. The last
Filipino general to surrender to Americans in the Philippine American War, Miguel Malvar, was also from this province.
The Diocese of Lipa was created on April 10, 1910, separating it from that of
Manila. The diocese then covered the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Marinduque and Mindoro, with Most Reverend Joseph Petrelli, D.D., as the first
bishop. He was faced with a monumental task because the diocese was large and there was but a handful of priests.
Bishop Petrelli invited different religious congregations to come to his diocese and
help minister to the spiritual needs of the faithful. He also conceived the building of a seminary in the diocese. In June l914 a diocesan seminary was built in Bauan,
which was later transferred to San Pablo in Laguna. This initiative of the first bishop was continued by the next bishop, Alfredo Verzosa, D.D., who served a long term
from 1916 to 1950. He invited priests from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to help in the administration of the new seminary.
In 1950 the Most Reverend Rufino Santos took over the diocese. Described as a
financial administrator of great acumen, Bishop Santos applied for bank loans to help construct some buildings. This way he continued the construction work of the Cathedral of Lipa and built a major seminary beside it.
With the departure of Monsignor Rufino Santos for the Archdiocese of Manila came a young bishop, Most Reverend Alejandro Olalia, D.D., who stayed with the
diocese from 1953 to 1973. It was during his term that the Diocese of Lipa, on June 20, 1972, became the tenth Archdiocese and Ecclesiastical Province by order of
the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI. This Same order elevated Bishop Olalia to the rank of archbishop on August 15, 1972.
Bishop Olalia died in 1973 and was replaced by Bishop Ricardo J. Vidal who
stayed with the diocese until 1981. During his incumbency. Bishop Vidal organized the Pastoral Council, and initiated the construction of the Lipa Archdiocesan Formation Center.
Bishop Vidal was replaced in 1981 by Bishop Mariano Gaviola, D.D. who stayed with the diocese from 1981 to 1993. He was at the helm of the archdiocese as it
celebrated its 75th anniversary on March 19, 1993, the reins of the archdiocese were again transferred, this time to Bishop Gaudencio Rosales, a native of
Batangas City. He was ordained priest in Lipa in 1958, became Auxiliary Bishop of Manila in 1974, served as bishop in Malaybalay in 1982, and on December 30, 1992 he was elected Archbishop of Lipa.
As the Archdiocese of Lipa changed hands over the years, changes too were happening to its territorial jurisdiction over certain areas. These were proud
moments for the archdiocese, when a number of provinces had acquired the capability to stand on their own. Thus in 1936 Mindoro was separated and became
the Apostolic Prelature of Calapan. In 1950 Lucena became a diocese of its own, and also in 1950 the Prelature of Infanta was created, comprising the northern part
of Quezon Province, Polilio and Aurora, Laguna's turn came next and became a separate diocese in 1967, that of San Pablo. The Diocese of Boac in Marinduque
was created in 1977 and that of Gumaca in 1984. Both dioceses were part of the Diocese of Lucena before their establishment. In 1983 the new Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose in Occidental Mindoro was created.
Today the Archdiocese of Lipa is for the province of Batangas alone. But the population has multiplied many times over. The archdiocese is divided into 6 vicariates, each headed by a vicar forane
. Except for the parishes in Vicariate IV which are run by the Oblates of St. Joseph, all other parishes are run by the diocesan clergy. There are 49 parishes in all, served by 143 priests. 122 of them
diocesan. There are 13 religious brothers, and 197 religious sisters. Catholic schools number 23, high school seminaries 2 and college seminaries 3. Two pastoral centers are being maintained.
On August 18, 1995, after much review, and meetings presided over by Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales himself, the archdiocese's vision was conceived: "A people of
God called by the Father in Jesus Christ to be communities of totally developed human persons in the world, witnessing to the Kingdom of God by living the Paschal Mystery in