Catholics in Eastern Samar province celebrated the 61st anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Borongan on Friday, October 22.
Hundreds of people representing the parishes in the diocese packed the Borongan Cathedral. Bishop Crispin Varquez, the diocese’s sixth bishop, presided over the Mass.
Established in 1960, the diocese covers the whole province and is home to about half-a-million Catholics in 32 parishes and four chaplaincies.
In his message, Pope Francis joined the diocese in thanking God “for the abundant graces of the past six decades.”
He also prayed that the commemoration “will be an occasion for the renewed pursuit of holiness, fidelity to the Gospel and concern for the poor.”
Bishop Varquez, in his homily, said communal support led the diocese to thrive for the past 61 years.
“We continue to work with our lay people, who are very eager and passionate to take part in the mission of the Church in the spirit of joy and volunteerism,” he said.
The bishop added that the events that led the diocese to its current state was because of God’s guidance.
“Today, we thank the Lord for the past 61 years that he has walked and journeyed with us. We do not see all these as mere human achievements but we see all of these as God’s gift to the Diocese of Borongan,” Bishop Varquez said.
“We look forward for another 60 years and we are very confident and hopeful because Jesus and our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary is with and will be with us on the way,” he added.