Explore South Asia's ancient dioceses

Cardinal Cheong

The cathedral of the first diocese in India.

St. Thomas the Apostle, who is believed to have arrived on Kerala’s Malabar Coast in 52 AD, is considered the father of the Catholic faith in India.

Christian communities developed and expanded further when European missionaries arrived in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The history of a few ancient dioceses in Asia can be dated back to 13th century pre-Portuguese mission expeditions.

Find out the oldest diocese in India here.

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Diocese of Cabanatuan

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Bishop Sofronio Aguirre Bancud
Bishop  Bancud
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Bishop Sofronio Aguirre Bancud
Bishop's Residence
Barangay Sumacab Este
Maharlika Highway

Phone: +63 44 463-0973, +63 44 463-3849
Fax :+63 44 463-7695
Email: [email protected]

Bishop Sofronio Aguirre Bancud, SSS, DD, was born on Dec. 8, 1948 in Atulayan Norte, Tuguegarao City in Cagayan, to parents Antonio Bancud and Soledad Aguirre. He finished his elementary education at St. Paul University and his high school at Cagayan State University both located in Tuguegarao City. In 1969 he earned his degree in Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) in Manila. Two years later, he entered the Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament and finally on Dec. 9, 1972 he professed his vows to the religious life. He obtained his licentiate degree in Sacred Theology at St. Francis Xavier Regional Seminary in Davao City in 1977. He was ordained a priest on May 2 of the same year. Further studies and formation had him sent to the following places: Summer Institute of Spirituality, Notre Dame de Vie, Quezon City (1978); Institute for Formative Spirituality for Formators, Emmaus Center, Marikina City (1983-1985); Sabbatical Program, Hesburgh Center for Continuing Formation in Ministry, Chicago, Illinois, USA (1999).

Immediately after his ordination to the priesthood he was assigned to the following posts: Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Davao City (1977- 1980); Postulant Director of the Blessed Sacrament Community, Davao City (1979-1980); Novice Master of the Blessed Sacrament Novitiate, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan (1980-1988) and (1989-1993); Member, International Formation Commission, Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, Rome, Italy (1983-1993); Scholastic Director of Blessed Sacrament Novitiate, Bulacan (1988-1989); Parish Administrator of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Davao City (1989); Assistant Regional Superior, of Our Lady of the Assumption Region in the Philippines (1981-1993); General Consultor of the SSS General Curia in Rome, Italy (1993-1999) and Superior of the Blessed Sacrament Community in Sta. Cruz, Manila in 2000.

He was elected titular bishop of Bida and Auxiliary Bishop of Cabanatuan on May 24, 2001 and ordained Bishop on Aug. 2, 2001 at Sta. Cruz Church in Manila by then Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Antonio Franco, DD. He was appointed Bishop of Cabanatuan on Nov. 6, 2004; and was installed in solemn ceremonies as the 7th ordinary and 5th residential Bishop of Cabanatuan at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Cathedral, Cabanatuan City on Jan. 25, 2005 - six months after the death of his predecessor, the late Bishop Sofio G. Balce Jr., DD, STD.

Previous Ordinaries:

  • Bishop Sofio G. Balce, DD - 4th Residential Bishop (1990-2004)
  • Bishop Pedro Magugat, MSC, DD - Apostolic Administrator (1987-1988)
  • Bishop Ciceron Tumboco, D.D. - 3rd Residential Bishop (1983-1990)
  • Bishop Leopoldo Arcaira - Apostolic Administrator (1967)
  • Bishop Vicente P. Reyes - 2nd Residential Bishop (1967-1983)
  • Bishop Mariano V. Gaviola, DD - 1st Residential Bishop (1963-1967)

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