As Church, we are guided by our Vision and Mission Statements in being a “Church of the Poor” and in Becoming a “Listening Church.” As such, in everything, we are “to journey together towards holiness.”
We are the Church of the Poor embracing Jesus’ spirituality as his disciples called to bring forth God’s Kingdom to the people of the Diocese of Bacolod through a spirit of communion and integral faith expressed in responsible stewardship, new evangelization and lived worship.
We envision a listening Church journeying together towards holiness.
Priestly: A participative Church that unites and sanctifies.
Prophetic: A church that informs, forms and transforms in response to the call of the times.
Kingly: A church that listens and serves with a compassionate heart.
The evangelization of Negros Occidental began in 1572, with the coming of the Augustinian prelates from Oton, Iloilo who built their convent in the town of Binalbagan. The Philippines at that time was still under the Diocese of Mexico. In August 14,1595, Pope Clement III created a new Diocese, the Diocese of the Holy Name of Jesus (Diocese of Cebu) separating it from the Diocese of Mexico. Negros Occidental became part of this Diocese and with the coming of the new missionaries, more visitas and parishes were created.
The Augustinian Recollect Fathers returned to the island in 1848 and established more than 30 parishes in Western Visayas. With this new development the Spiritual administration of Negros Occidental was transferred to the Diocese of Salog (now Jaro) in 1865. At this time, Bacolod was also made the center of the religious administration of the whole island of Negros. In 1876, the San Sebastian Church was constructed.
When the revolution broke out in 1898 the Recollect friars have no choice but to abandon the 36 parishes and numerous visitas under their care leaving only a few Filipino secular clergy to take care of the local Church. Of the 210 parishes in Western Visayas, only 26 had resident priests and of the 36 parishes and chaplaincies in Negros Occidental only 7 had resident priests.
This crisis on the scarcity of the priests forced the Apostolic Delegate, Ambrose Agius to convoke the Synod of Manila in 1909. Among its decisions were the formation of more Filipino priests and the creation of additional dioceses. Immediately, 3 dioceses were created by the Pope.
In a census in 1918, it was found that nearly one-third of the Aglipayans in the Philippines were in Negros Occidental with its own diocese and bishop located in Valladolid. Petitions were made to create a diocese for Negros Occidental to counteract the growing number of Aglipayans. But due to the scarcity of priests nothing happened until July 15, 1932 when Pope Pius XI issued a Bull creating the Diocese of Bacolod. This resulted to the separation of Negros Oriental from Cebu and Negros Occidental from Jaro as a new Diocese. However it was only on May 4, 1933, that Bishop Guglielmo Piani, the Papal Delegate, issued the order of execution and on the 19th of May, Jaro Bishop James McCloskey was named Apostolic Administrator.
On June 23, 1933, Fr. Casimiro Lladoc, the 40-year old Vicar Forane of Albay, was appointed the first Bishop of Bacolod. As directed by Bishop McCloskey and in accordance with the specific instructions of Pope Pius XI, the Recollect Fathers in Negros Occidental were transferred to Negros Oriental and Romblon and were replaced with Filipino priests from Negros Oriental.
Bishop Lladoc was consecrated Bishop on September 16, 1933 in Nueva Caceres and took the See of Bacolod on October 14. He concentrated his attention to the rebuilding of many parishes, training more priests and fighting the growing secularism and strong Protestantism in schools due to the expansion of protestant-owned Silliman College in Dumaguete. Three Catholic educational institutions in the diocese were established: La Consolacion College, Colegio de Sta. Rita (San Carlos) and Sta. Teresita Academy (Silay), all of which were exclusive schools for girls. LCC was expanded with the opening of a school for boys in La Carlota while the Recollects established a boys’ school, the Colegio de Santo Tomas in San Carlos, in 1940. He tried to get Ateneo de Manila, San Beda, La Concordia College and La Salle College to Bacolod, but failed. The site for Ateneo was later donated for the Sacred Heart Seminary which was constructed in 1948.
Bishop Lladoc believed in prayer and work. He asked the Carmelites to open a monastery here in 1935, but they came only in 1946. He asked the Redemptorists to increase their missions in the Diocese and they did starting in 1940. On December 29, 1950, the Redemptorist House was founded in Bacolod.
Bishop Lladoc became extremely ill in 1949 and His Vicar General, Msgr. Flaviano Ariola, was appointed Apostolic Administrator, sede vacante, when it was clear that he would no longer recover. He died on September 22, 1951 in Manila and was buried at the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod.
Due to his work, membership in Aglipayanism dropped considerably from 474,845 in 1918, to only 119,401 in 1948, a drop from 34 % to 8 % of all Aglipayans. He succeeded in having catechism in public schools and with the expansion of Catholic schools stemmed the tide of Anti-Catholicism.
On March 16, 1952, Bishop Manuel Yap of Capiz was appointed Bishop of Bacolod. This Cebuano Biblical scholar was only in Capiz for 10 months when he was installed Bishop of Bacolod on May 15, 1952. Bishop Yap fought and succeeded against government attempts to impose the compulsory reading of the unexpurgated work of Jose Rizal in catholic schools.
In close coordination with his Vicar-General Msgr. Antonio Y. Fortich, Catholic mass movements were organized: the Cursillo de Christianidad, the Barangay sang Virgen and SaMaria. It was the time of resurgence of devotions and the re-evangelization of the upper and lower classes of the local church. The Catholic Action, began by Bishop Lladoc, became widespread especially in schools as a response to the growing secularism and anti-Catholic sentiments in leading public schools. He strengthened the Sacred Heart Seminary, giving most of his own money for its expansion and upkeep. He established the Catechetical Institute in 1955 and used the Catholic Charities food aid for children’s snacks during summer catechism classes.
Early in his administration, Bishop Yap gave his support to Fr. Hector Mauri, a Jesuit, who was organizing labor unions in farm and commercial establishments. There was much opposition but the education of workers continued with the support of the Diocese. Cooperatives were tried but most had failed. Social action in pastoral work began.
On June 12, 1955, the Diocese of Dumaguete was created. Parishes from Escalante of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental and Siquijor formed the new diocese. On October 24, 1955, Msgr. Epifanio Surban, an army war chaplain and death march survivor was consecrated and installed Bishop of Dumaguete. Many of the priests from Negros Oriental returned while others remained in the Diocese of Bacolod.
In 1956, Bishop Yap had the San Sebastian Cathedral renovated though keeping most of its interiors intact, and had it consecrated.
The changes brought about by the Vatican Council II in 1965 were first met with opposition by some and scepticism by others. The altars were moved towards the congregation as the priest now face the faithful during Mass. Latin Mass, however, still prevailed, though English came in slowly. As the Barangay sang Virgen and the SaMaria began to take many tasks in the Church, Hiligaynon slowly entered into the liturgy.
Bishop Yap died on October 16, 1966 and was buried at the Bacolod Cathedral. His Vicar General and Rector of San Sebastian, Msgr. Antonio Fortich, was designated Apostolic Administrator and later was appointed the third Bishop of Bacolod by Rome. On February 17, 1967 right after he was ordained Bishop, he began his office as Pastor of the Diocese of Bacolod at the San Sebastian Cathedral.
It was the time of great ferment in the world, even the seminaries were swept by student activism and teach-ins. By the time Bishop Fortich took over, many of the changes in the Church had filtered down to the local churches. Among the most significant change was the Encyclical issued by Pope Paul VI regarding the role of the Church in the modern world.
At this time, Negros Occidental has been the focus of many social and political controversies because of its socio-economic conditions. In 1968, the Diocese of Bacolod held a Pastoral Congress to assess these conditions and to define the role of the Church in addressing oppressive situations in the light of the Papal Encyclicals. Bishop Fortich issued a Pastoral Letter that provided the new direction of the Diocese in relation to the endemic problems of Negros.
In implementing the points in the Pastoral Letter, mass organization of cooperatives and labor unions even in commercial establishments, were initiated. The Kauswagan Project and the Dacongcogon Rice and Sugar Cooperative Mill were organized in the Hinterlands of Kabankalan. Afterwards, other Catholic- related organizations, including schools, embarked on socio-economic projects and social activism to directly address the issue of poverty, oppressive wages, labor exploitation, land-grabbing, forest denudation and political terrorism. The preferential option for the poor guided the pastoral work of the Diocese. During this period, the Social Action Office was created.
As more mass-based religious organizations were organized, the active participation of the faithful in church activities multiplied, changes in pastor-relationships improved, more young people entered the seminary, more parishes were created, the San Sebastian Cathedral was renovated in 1976, and the Bishop’s Palace (now known as the Bishop’s House)
Pope John Paul II came to Bacolod in February 1981. In his speech, the Pope referred to the work of the Diocese in trying to defuse the eruption of the “social volcano” that was Negros. Bishop Fortich coined the term.
Because of his work for social justice, threats to life of Bishop Fortich were frequent. One evening, a grenade was lobbed at the Domus Dei, his residence after the Bishop’s House was burned in 1985 under mysterious circumstances. The Bishop’s House was rehabilitated and expanded and rebuilt almost a year after.
On August 11, 1988, Bishop Fortich retired after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75. At this time, the Diocese of Bacolod was also divided into three dioceses: Bacolod, Kabankalan and San Carlos.
Replacing Bishop Fortich was Bishop Camilo D. Gregorio, a native of Nueva Ecija, who took over the See of Bacolod on July 27, 1989. He served as Bishop of Bacolod until his resignation on September 2, 2000.
Bishop Gregorio’s term was defined by his support for renewal movements which led to their significant and vigorous growth. The Pope John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family was also established during his term. He also initiated the island-wide caravans for the promotion of a peaceful election and for the protection of life.
After Bishop Gregorio, the Holy Father designated Bishop Navarra, then Bishop of the Diocese of Kabankalan as Apostolic Administrator and later appointed as the Fifth Bishop of Bacolod on May 24, 2001 and was installed on July 19 of the same year. It was under his episcopate that the Diocese of Bacolod hosted the National World Youth Day in 2003.
After studying the problems of the diocese, he convoked the Second Diocesan Synod on January 20, 2002 that involved the long process of consultation on the grassroots or parish level. After the parish consultation on issues laid by the Synod had been completed the delegates deliberated from October 2004 to January 18, 2005.
It was the biggest assembly- 182 delegates that included 89 members of the Diocesan Clergy, 26 religious men and women, 64 lay persons and representatives of lay associations, and special bodies. On January 20, 2005, Bishop Navarra promulgated the 115 decrees which covered a wide range of subjects that intend to transform the diocese and the faithful. The Synod defined the transformed and renewed diocese through its pastoral thrust: A Church of the Poor, embracing Jesus’ spirituality through a sense of communion and renewed integral faith formation and expressed in the Basic Ecclesial Communities. To begin the process of these historic decisions, he strengthened the Pastoral, The Lay Formation and Social Action Centers. A new Rectory, a three-storey building was constructed beside the Cathedral and was inaugurated on January 20, 2007. On March 30, 2007, he initiated the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the Diocese.
With his experiences as the first Bishop of Kabankalan, he was aware of the problems of the province. He spoke strongly against illegal logging and environmental degradation and led protest caravans to call public attention to the dangers to the environment. He is one Bishop who did not mince with his words in his protest against the RH Law, with the support of the faithful of the Diocese.
In response to the changing pastoral concerns of the Diocese, Bishop Navarra convened the First Diocesan Pastoral Assembly on October 24-26, 201, at the CICM Maryshore Bukal ng Tipan Mission Center.
Reaching 75 on his birthday last January 22, 2014 he handed in his resignation to Rome as Bishop of Bacolod, but stayed on as its pastor until the proclamation of a new Bishop on May 24, 2016.
On August 9, 2016, the Diocese of Bacolod marked the new era in its life as a Church with the new leadership of Bishop Patricio A. Buzon, SDB, D.D., then Bishop of Kabankalan, now installed as its 6th Bishop and Pastor.
On his second year as Bishop of Bacolod, Bishop Buzon convened the Second Diocesan Pastoral Assembly on October 10-13, 2017 at the Sacred Heart Seminary. During the Assembly, the Diocese formulated its Vision-Mission Statements – the Diocese of Bacolod being a “listening Church journeying together towards holiness”.
The Diocese of Bacolod is located in Negros Island, Central Philippines. Its jurisdiction covers most of the towns and cities of the Province of Negros Occidental namely, as far as Victorias City in the north and the Municipality of Hinigaran in the south.
The Cathedral and the Bishop’s House is located in Bacolod City, the capital city of
Bishop : Most Rev. Patricio A. Buzon, SDB, D.D.
Vicar General : Msgr. Joy G. Jimera, MAT, VG
Chancellor-Secretary : Rev. Fr. Roy Christian D. Gesulgon, LLB, MA
Oeconomus : Rev. Fr. Mitchel J. Guadalupe
Human Resource Office/Property Office-in-Charge : Rev. Fr. Gregorio J. Neri
Diocesan Tribunal Priest-in-Charge : Rev. Fr. Joemar D. Solano, JCL
Legal Counsels : Atty. Michelle M. Abella, Atty. Henrietta Vinco
Accountant : Mrs. Ma. Teresa L. Faeldonea
Secretaries : Angelie Kris F. Aguirre, Gwen Y. Genova, Crystalyn O. Gonzaga, Blanca M. Labayen, Edna C. Palandangan, Veronica P. Paro, Rolando P. Paro,Gemmalyn I. Tonog, Bresilda G. Tinosan
Driver/Messenger : Bernie C. Colango, Ruel G. Tisoro, Jorge C. Magallanes,Jimmy C. Vince, Mike C. Magallanes
Pope Pius XI issued the Papal Bull creating the Diocese of Bacolod.
Papal Delegate Guglielmo Piani sent the Decretum Excutioriale, which put into effectivity the said Papal Bull. Thus, merging the two provinces, including the island of Siquijor, after parishes in Occidental Negros and Oriental Negros separated from the Diocese of Jaro and Cebu, respectively. Bishop James Paul McCloskey of Jaro became the Apostolic Administrator.
Msgr. Casimiro M. Lladoc, a native of Albay, was chosen to be the shepherd of the newly-established diocese.
Bishop Lladoc’s arrival in the diocese together with priests from Albay.
The Sacred Heart Seminary was founded. It is originally located beside the San Sebastian cathedral (now LCC-Bacolod) under the care of the Vincentian Fathers or Padres Paules (CM)
Sacred Heart Seminary transferred to its present site – Lupit Subdivision (now Lizares Ave., Bacolod)
Death of Bishop Lladoc. Upon his death, the diocese’s welfare was now under Msgr. Flaviano Arriola as Administrator.
Bishop Manuel P. Yap, the then bishop of Capiz, was appointed as the new shepherd of Bacolod.
Bishop Yap invited the Columban fathers to do a mission in Negros. Southern Negros, particularly the areas from Binalbagan to Hinobaan, were given to their care.
The administration of Sacred Heart Seminary was handed on to the Filipino secular priests from Bohol. Fr. Felipe Jumao-as became the first Filipino rector.
The Diocese of Bacolod was divided into two. Thus, the creation of the Diocese of Dumaguete. Bacolod diocese’s jurisdiction was from Hinobaan in the south to Vito, Sagay in the north while Dumaguete covered the parishes the rest of the parishes in Negros Occidental, the whole of Negros Oriental and Siquijor island, under Bishop Epifanio Surban.
Bishop Yap convened the First Diocesan Synod. The attendees of the synod were only the clergy since the objective was to establish an arancel system for the diocese.
St. John the XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council which ushered renewals in the church.
Death of Bishop Manuel Yap.
Msgr. Antonio Y. Fortich, the then vicar-general of Bishop Yap, became the third bishop of Bacolod. A native of Dumaguete, and previous parish priest of Binalbagan and Bacolod Cathedral, Bishop Fortich was the first bishop from the diocese.
DYAF, the official radio station of the diocese, was also founded.
- When the nation was put under Martial Law, the diocesan Social Action Center and the radio station of the diocese, DYAF- VERTA, were also shut down.
Bishop Fortich together with Ben Gaston won an Award for Public Service. That proved and certified the “preferential option for the poor” stand of the Church. In this same year, the Social Action Center of the diocese was reopened with programs such as Diocesan Nutrition Progam, Legal Assistance Program, Diocesan Labor Relations Office - Workers’ Education Program.
The Jubilee Year of the 1975 became a time of renewal in the diocese. It was also during this time when Evangelization and Basic Christian Community were launched.
St. John Paul II, visited the diocese in hopes of talking to the exploited workers of Negros.
The Diocese celebrated the centenary of San Sebastian Cathedral.
Two new dioceses were born out of the diocese of Bacolod: Kabankalan and San Carlos. Thus, having the new ecclesiastical jurisdictions in Negros Island:
Diocese of Kabankalan- from Binalbagan to Hinoba-an.
Diocese of San Carlos – from Manapla, Negros Occ. to La Libertad, Negros Oriental.
Diocese of Dumaguete – Jimalalud to Bayawan
Diocese of Bacolod - Victorias to Hinagaran
Fr. Vicente Salgado, a native of Bacolod Diocese, was ordained as bishop of Romblon.
Bishop Fortich retired at 75 years old. According to him, he retired in his office, but not from his advocacy of defending human rights and of promoting true peace.
Bishop Camilo D. Gregorio took possession of the See of Bacolod.
The Diocesan Pastoral Congress of Bacolod was held.
The John Paul II National Institute for Marriage and Family in Bacolod started its first school year. Four years, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) recognized and endorsed it.
Bishop Navarra convoked the Second Diocesan Synod. It was attended by - 182 delegates that included 89 members of the diocesan clergy, 26 religious men and women, 64 lay persons and representatives of lay associations, and special bodies.
Bacolod hosted the National World Youth Day.
Bishop Navarra promulgated 115 decrees of the Second Diocesan Synod covering a wide range of subjects that intended to transform the diocese and the faithful.
The Bishop initiated the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the Diocese.
Through a decree issued by Bishop Vicente Navarra, the Diocese started the observance of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary as the Secondary Patron of the Diocese.
The Diocese celebrated its diamond jubilee.
Pope Benedict XVI named Fr. Gerry Alminaza as the auxiliary Bishop of Jaro.
Blessing of the Pope John Paul II tower.
Bishop Navarra called for the First Diocesan Pastoral Assembly and was held in CICM Maryshore Bukal ng Tipan Mission Station, Talisay City.
Domus Dei, a retirement home for sick and elderly priests of the Diocese in Hda. Makina, Silay City, was blessed.
The Diocese of Bacolod won a case in the supreme court over the “Team Buhay, Team Patay” posters.
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Navarra and appointed Bishop Buzon as the sixth shepherd of the diocese of Bacolod.
Bishop Buzon convoked the Second Diocesan Pastoral Assembly held at Sacred Heart Seminary-Bacolod. The Diocese promulgated its mission and vision statement.
Pope Francis named Msgr. Louie P. Galbines as the bishop of Kabankalan.
The Cor Iesu Center of Spirituality officially opened. It offers certificate program on spirituality as part of ongoing formation for all Catholic Lay Faithful especially the Devotees of the Sacred Heart.
The 4 Dioceses of Negros, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Church Military PNP Forum - Negros (CMP Forum - Negros). The Forum is to serve as an institutional mechanism for dialogue between the Church, the AFP and the PNP given the present realities affecting Negros Island.