Diocese of Bacolod Philippines at San Juan - Rizal Streets, Bacolod City, ND 6100 PH - Diocesan History
The coming of the Augustinian Missionaries to the island of Negros between 1566, and 1569 marked the introduction of the Christian faith to the inhabitants of the island. The place was called Negros by the Spaniards because of the Negrito tribes who were the original inhabitants. The place was explored in 1569 when Legaspi transferred his headquarters from Cebu to Panay Island. Negros formed a single province with Panay until 1734 when Negros was made a separate military district. The separation of the two provinces, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental took place in 1890.
The civil government in Negros was established in 1901, early in the American regime. On May 16, 1933 the Diocese of Bacolod was created, separating it from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Jaro and Cebu. The Most Reverend James P. McClosky became Apostolic Administrator from June 1933 to October of the same year.
The first bishop of Bacolod was Most Reverend Casimiro Llador, DD, who took over the diocese on October 24, 1951. The Most Reverend Manuel Yap, DD, became the second bishop of Bacolod, from 1952 to 1966. On January 13, 1967, the reins of the diocese were again transferred to Most Reverend Antonio Fortich, who became the third bishop of Bacolod and stayed until 1989. He was succeeded by the Most Reverend Camilo D. Gregorio, DD, who was appointed as the fourth bishop of Bacolod on May 10, 1989 and still occupies the position as of this writing in 1995.
In February of 1989, the Diocese of Bacolod was divided into the three dioceses of Bacolod, San Carlos and Kabankalan. The Most Reverend Camilo Gregorio, the fourth and present Bishop of Bacolod was installed on July 27, 1989. The first three years of his episcopacy were periods of adjustment in all levels of diocesan affairs as the diocese had just been divided into three. The local Church of Bacolod regained its momentum in 1992. By then various diocesan commissions had been established in answer to the different needs for the faithful.
The different commissions operative in the Diocese of Bacolod today are those on youth, catechetics, Catholic schools, family and life, liturgy, immigration, ecumenism, health care, laity, vocations, mission, parochial schools, social communications, prisoners' welfare and on-going formation of the clergy.
The diocese is served by 97 diocesan priests and 51 religious priests in its 63 parishes. Among the Catholic institutions are 32 schools, 5 orphanages, 2 nurseries, 11 retreat houses, 2 homes for the aged and 1 pastoral center.
Today the inhabitants of Negros come mostly from the neighboring islands such as Panay, Cebu and the far south. Remnants of the aborigines are still found in the mountains of San Carlos. With the presence of many manufacturing companies plus the sugar mills in what is called the "sugar bowl of the Philippines", unemployment in the province is one of the lowest in the country.
In November of 1993, the Diocesan Pastoral Congress was held at the Sacred Heart Seminary, attended by 78 diocesan priests, 12 religious priests, 163 lay people from the parishes and chaplaincies, 22 school representatives, 34 lay organization representatives, 16 sectoral-groups' representatives, and 21 representatives from various other religious institutions.
The Congress was convoked by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Camilo D. Gregorio with the assistance of Monsignor Ramon G. Tirania, Jr., the Diocesan Vicar-General. The objectives of the Congress were: 1) to formulate the vision-mission statement of the diocese in line with the Plenary Council of the Philippines II, 2) to define the pastoral thrust and program of the diocese, and 3) to create a diocesan pastoral council.