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Diocese of Digos: an Overview

Digos, the capital of Davao del Sur Province, is also the seat of the Diocese of Digos which was once part of the Archdiocese of Davao. The diocese was created on November 8, 1979 by Pope John Paul II, and its first bishop, the Most Reverend Generoso Camiña, PME, was formally installed on February 11, 1980. Its titular patron is San Isidro, Labrador while Mary Mediatrix of all Graces is the patroness of its cathedral. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Davao.

The Diocese of Digos comprises the civil Filipino Provinces of Davao del Sur and Davao Occidental, also the islands of Balut and Sarangani, and Banate District which is part of Sarangani Province. The Diocese area lies west of the Davao Gulf, north of the Celebes Sea, east of the Cotabato provinces and south of its sister province, Davao del Norte. It covers a land area of 4,327.43 square kilometers that holds a total population of 901,000, of which 767,000 (85.1%) are Catholics (Census 2015)

As far back as the Spanish era, Muslim groups of the Maguindanao tribes were already settled in areas that were later to become important towns such as Tagum in Davao del Norte, Samal in Davao del Sur, and Mayo which is now Davao City. From seven tribal groups that had settled in the entire Davao area in the 19 th century, the Manobos ended up in Davao del Norte while the Bagobos occupied Davao del Sur.

The Spaniards explored Mindanao in 1528, when Saavedra went through the Sarangani Islands on the southwestern tip of Davao Gulf. Soon after, Villalobos skirted the eastern coasts and opened up the first settlement in what is now the district of Caraga in Surigao del Sur. The entire area around the Davao Gulf remained under the Sultan of Mindanao until 1848, when Spanish control was finally established.

The inhabitants today are mostly migrants from the Visayas, speaking the Cebuano dialect. The economy began to pick up in 1904 when Japanese plantations of abaca sprouted in the area. Crop lands are in the area referred to as the Davao Piedmont Area, while fishing is an important industry. The Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway which extends from Luzon to Mindanao (with ferry transfers), ends in Davao City but connects with a major highway to points south and to Cotabato. The entire Davao province was subdivided into three provinces politically in 1967.

In recent years many inhabitants fled the areas around Davao City because of frequent clashes between government forces and the adherents of the Communist-backed New People's Army (NPA). But the inhabitants organized a civilian movement ala vigilantes called "Alsa Masa" and succeeded in driving away these armed groups. The year 1991 saw the convening of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines which helped Filipino Catholics to deepen their awareness of the Faith, and see its relation to present social, political, cultural and economic realities. The faithful of the Diocese of Digos were no exception. They too were touched by the spirit behind PCP II.


Three stages of pastoral thrusts have helped to shape the Diocese of Digos in its fourteen years of existence: - first was the development of a Family Life Apostolate; - second was the building and strengthening of Basic Ecclesial Communities; - and third, the implementation by the diocese of the National Pastoral Plan in accord with the acts and decrees of PCP II.

Towards the end of the 80's, the diocese held a diocesan assembly that undertook the double tasks of investigating and evaluating the different pastoral programs of the diocese. Out of that assembly came a formulation of its Vision-Mission Statement:

Vision: "Christian communities united in the same spirit, fully developed, self-reliant and responsible, that pray, teach and serve in solidarity with the Magisterium—living signs of the presence of the Kingdom of God, and being effective instruments of its spread to other communities.

For its mission the faithful of Digos commit themselves to help one another 1) to become persons and communities that love and worship God, listen to His word and are intimately united with Him in the Eucharist; 2) to become informed, formed and transformed communities of persons with deep Christian values, and 3) to live the spirit of love and service for others as free children of God, entering into the evangelical task of effecting total human development.

The diocesan pastoral programs are placed under three commissions: Commission on Formation, Commission on Liturgy and Commission on Social Services. The parish pastoral councils as well as movements and organizations are placed under the umbrella of the Diocesan Council of the Laity (DICLA).

STATISTIC ABOUT DIOCESE OF DIGOS

(April 2017)

Bishop: Most Rev. Guillermo Dela Vega Afable, D.D. (appointed in 2003)

_____________________________

Diocesan Priests

Active: 31

Study Leave: 0

With Special Assignments: 2

On Loan (Mission): 1

Guest Priests (outside Digos): 6

On Indefinite Leave: 1

Total: 41

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Religious Congregations, Societies and Institutes

Religious Institutes of Men:

Brothers of the Sacred Heart: SC

Congregation of the Missionaries of Jesus: MJ

Congregation of the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus: RCJ

Congregation Poor Servants of Divine Providence: PSDP

Foreign Mission Society of Quebec: SME

Order of St. Benedict: OSB (Missionary Benedictines of the Congregation of St. Otillien)

Society of Mary: SM

_____________________________

Religious Institutes of Women

Apostolic Daughters of Mary: ADM

Benedictine Nuns of the Eucharistic King: OSB

Benedictine Sisters of the Eucharistic King: OSB

Carmelite Missionaries: CM

Crucified Sisters, Adorers of the Eucharist: CAE

Dominican Sisters of the Trinity: OP

Religious of the Virgin Mary: RVM

Sisters ministers of the Sick of St. Camillus: CS (Camillian Sisters)

Sisters of the Presentation of Mary: PM

Teresian Daughters of Mary: TDM

Workers of the Christ Worker: WCW

_____________________________

Religious Priests

Filipino: 18

Foreign: 4

Total: 22

_____________________________

Religious Brothers

Filipino: 11

Foreign: 4

Total: 22

_____________________________

Religious Sisters

Filipino: 98

_____________________________

Seminarians

Pre-College: 10

College: 59

Theology: 11

Total: 80

_____________________________

(Source: Diocese of Digos - April 6, 2017)


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