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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zamboanga

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Title: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zamboanga  
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Subject: Roman Catholic Diocese of Ipil, Roman Catholic Territorial Prelature of Isabela, Roman Catholic Diocese of Dipolog, Romulo Valles, Antonio Ledesma
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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zamboanga

Archdiocese of Zamboanga
Archdiocesis Zamboangensis
Arquidiocesis de Zamboanga (Chavacano)
Arkidiyosesis ng Zamboanga (Filipino)
Country  Philippines
Territory Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi
Metropolitan Zamboanga City
Area 1,638 km2 (632 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2010)
570,000 (77.6%)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Sui iuris church Latin Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established April 10, 1910 (as diocese)
Cathedral Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral
Patron saint Nuestra Seňora del Pilar
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Metropolitan Archbishop Romulo T. Dela Cruz
Suffragans Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo/Diocese of Jolo
Diocese of Ipil
Territorial Prelature of Isabela
Emeritus Bishops Carmelo Dominador Flores Morelos Archbishop Emeritus (1994-2006)
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see within the Philippines.
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see within the Philippines.
Website of the Archdiocese
Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

The Archdiocese of Zamboanga (Latin name: Archdiocesis Zamboangensis) is a Catholic archdiocese in the Philippines. Its present jurisdiction includes Zamboanga City, with suffragans in Basilan (Territorial Prelature of Isabela, Basilan), Sulu Archipelago (Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo/Diocese of Jolo) and Zamboanga Sibugay (Diocese of Ipil). It became Mindanao's first diocese in 1910, and was established as the second archdiocese of Mindanao in 1958. Today the archdiocese covers a land area of 1,648 square kilometers and has a population of 442,345, of which 81 per cent are Catholics. The archdiocese includes 26 parishes, served by 49 diocesan and 18 religious priests. There are also 51 religious sisters working in the archdiocese.


From 1607 to 1910 the entire island of Mindanao was under the Diocese of Cebu and Jaro. On April 10, 1910, Pope Pius X created the Diocese of Zamboanga and gave it jurisdiction over the whole island of Mindanao, including the adjacent islands of the Sulu Archipelago and the island of Cagayan de Sulu.

The Catholic faith was brought to Zamboanga by Jesuit missionaries Melchor de Vera and Alejandro Lopez in 1635. The efforts of the Spanish authorities to subdue the Muslims resulted in reprisal raids in Zamboanga and the Visayan Islands. In 1636 Fort Pilar, in honor of Our Lady of the Pillar, was constructed by priest-engineer Fr. de Vera. Jesuit Frs. Francisco Paliola and Alejandro Lopez died as martyrs in their efforts to win the Muslims through diplomacy. The establishment of Fort Pilar gave birth of the future city of Zamboanga.

On January 20, 1933, Pope Pius XI divided Mindanao into two areas. Southern Mindanao including the Sulu Archipelago became under the jurisdiction of Zamboanga. Northern Mindanao became under the Diocese of Cagayan de Oro. In 1951 Cagayan de Oro became an archdiocese, the first in the island of Mindanao. All episcopal jurisdictions in Mindanao and Sulu, including Zamboanga, became suffragans of this archdiocese.

The Diocese of Zamboanga was further divided when the Prelature Nullius of Davao was established and separated in 1949; the Prelature of Cotabato in 1950; the Prelature of Isabela, Basilan, in 1963, and the Prelature of Ipil in 1979.

Zamboanga was established an archdiocese on May 15, 1958 by Pope Pius XII. As an ecclesiastical province, the Archdiocese of Zamboanga included Zamboanga City and had as suffragans the Prelature of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay, the Prelature of Isabela in Basilan and the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo. Its titular patroneses is Our Lady of the Pillar, and its secondary patron is St. Pius X.

The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines adopted the Community of Disciples as the prime model of the Church, with focus on being a Church of the Poor. The challenge for the archdiocese in Zamboanga is to incarnate the vision of PCP II.

An Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly was held early in 1995, formalizing preparations for the Second Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly of Zamboanga in 1996.

Among the Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese of Zamboanga are 2 colleges, 6 secondary schools, 6 elementary schools, and 8 kindergarten schools. Charitable and social institutions include a leprosarium, 5 free clinics, 1 orphanage and 1 child center.

In 2010 the Zamboanga archdiocese celebrated the 100th anniversary of its establishment as the first diocese in Mindanao with a commemorative mass on April 12, 2010. The 50th or golden anniversary of its establishment as an archdiocese (1958-2008) was part of this celebration.

Suffragan Diocese and Territorial Prelature

List of Bishops and Archbishops

The Diocese of Zamboanga (1910-1958)

  • Charles Warren Currier (June 25, 1910-did not take effect)
  • Michael James O'Doherty (1911-1916)
  • James Paul McCloskey (1917-1920)
  • José Clos y Pagés, S.J. (1920-1931)
  • Luis Del Rosario, S.J. (1933-1958)

The Archdiocese of Zamboanga (1958-present)

  • Luis del Rosario, S.J. (1958-1966)
  • Lino Gonzaga y Rasdesales (1966-1973)
  • Francisco Raval Cruces (1973-1994)
  • Carmelo Dominador Flores Morelos (1994-2006)
  • Romulo Valles (2006-2012)
  • Romulo dela Cruz (2014-Present)

Parishes under the Archdiocese of Zamboanga

The Vicariate of the Immaculate Conception

The Vicariate of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Vicariate of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

Office and Residence

  • Archbishop's Palace, Sacred Heart Center, R.T. Lim Boulevard, Zamboanga City
  • Archdiocesan Chancery and Plenary Hall (Centro Pastoral), Gov. Camins Avenue, Zamboanga City

Religious Congregations in the Archdiocese of Zamboanga



Schools and Institutions

  • Ateneo de Zamboanga University (SJ)- La Purisima St., Zamboanga City
    • ADZU High School- Tumaga-Lunzuran Road, Tumaga, Zamboanga City
  • Saint Joseph School (Archdiocesan)- Gov. Camins Ave., Zamboanga City
  • Pilar College (RVM)- Justice R.T. Lim Boulevard, Zamboanga City
  • Immaculate Conception Archdiocesan School (Archdiocesan)- in front of St. Ignatius Parish, Tetuan, Zamboanga City
    • Annex Campus- Natividad Road, Tetuan, Zamboanga City
  • Immaculate Conception Archdiocesan School (ICAS) de Calarian (formerly Western Immaculate Conception Archdiocesan School), San Jose-Limpapa National Highway, Upper Calarian, Zamboanga City
  • Eastern Immaculate Conception Archdiocesan School (EICAS), Ma. Clara L. Lobregat Highway, Sangali, Zamboanga City
  • Mercedarian Kindergarten School (Mercedarians)- Mercedarian Compound, Santa Maria, Zamboanga City
  • Claret School of Zamboanga City (Claretians)- San Jose Road, Canelar, Zamboanga City

Icas de Mercedes (Kindergarten School)

Facts and Information

  • The city's primary patroness is Our Lady of the Pillar, whose shrine is located at the old Fort Pilar. Her feast day is October 12, the city's official holiday.
  • Bishop Michael O'Doherty was the first bishop of the diocese in 1910 until he was appointed Archbishop of Manila in 1916.
  • Romulo T. dela Cruz, DD, the newly appointed archbishop of Zamboanga, has the same name and designation as his predecessor. He succeeded Romulo G. Valles, DD as the bishop of Diocese of Kidapawan when the latter was appointed as the Archbishop of Zamboanga. The same happened when Dela Cruz was appointed as archbishop after serving Kidapawan for 6 years.

See also


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