The Diocese of Calbayog in Samar province, the first diocese in Eastern Visayas in the central Philippines, marked its 111th anniversary on April 10.
Bishop Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog led the celebrations at the St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church in Basey town and at the Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish Church in Calbiga town.
The activities formally launched the diocese’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of Evangelization of the Philippines and was highlighted with the opening of “Holy Doors” of the two parishes.
A religious procession of the Paschal Candle, the Gospel Book, and the image of the Sto. Niño was held while the Litany of Saints was sang.
“This is not just a mere display of icons or liturgical items for they have significance,” said Bishop Abarquez in his homily.
He said the procession signifies the “pilgrimage as people of God which has a special place in the jubilee celebration.”
“It is a journey that starts in baptism being constantly renewed as we face every struggle in life,” said the bishop.
In the town of Calbiga, Bishop Abarquez noted that the parish is the birthplace of the first two bishops of the diocese — Bishop Pablo Singzon, who served from 1910 to 1920, and Bishop Sofronio Hacbang, who administered the diocese from 1923 to 1937.
Calbayog was erected a diocese on April 10, 1910, by Pope Pius X, who later became a saint, and appointed Bishop Singzon as its first bishop.
For many years, the ecclesiastical territory oversaw much of the Samar and Leyte islands, including the province of Biliran.
To date, the region is composed of the Archdiocese of Palo and the dioceses of Calbayog, Catarman, Borongan, and Naval.