In a land area of 1,862.28 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the 1st district of Camarines Sur.
In the diocesan territory the population is 626,000 at end of 2016. (The population of the whole country is about 10.8 million people). The territory is ruled by political dynasties.
The dialects of the place are Bicol/Tagalog.
The Prelature of Libmanan is formerly part of the Archdiocese of Caceres. The Diocese of Caceres was formally established as a local Church on August 14, 1595 by virtue of the Papal Bull Super Specula Militantis Ecclesiae issued by Clement VIII. According to the document Ecclesia de Caceres in Indiis Orientalibus, the Episcopal See of Caceres until 1951 covered "the provinces of Camarines and Albay, including the islands of Ticao, Masbate, Burias and Catanduanes; the province of Tayabas including Lucban; and, in the contracosta of Mauban to Binangonan, Polo, Baler and Casiguran." Ecclesia Cacerensis in Indiis Orientalis was the official name given to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
In 1565, an organized and systematic program of evangelization was initiated in the Philippines by the Augustinians who accompanied Miguel Lopez de Legaspi's expedition. To facilitate the process of evangelization, the Philippines was divided into different missionary areas occupied by the various religious orders such as the Franciscans (1578), Jesuits (1581), Dominicans (1587), and Augustinian Recollects (1606) from both Spain and Mexico.
The evangelization in the Diocese of Caceres brought significant and prominent fruits: firstly, the promotion of the popular devotion to the Virgin of Peñafrancia and to the Divino Rostro (Divine Face). The birth of the devotion to the Virgin of Peñafrancia started during the time of Bishop Andres Gonzales, O.P. (1633-1709) who invited Miguel de Robles to bring the devotion to Nueva Caceres. This devotion spread rapidly due to miracles not only in the Bicol Region but even throughout the country. The devotion to the Divino Rostro was introduced in Bicol only in 1882. Secondly, the gradual growth of the native clergy with the building of a Diocesan Conciliar Seminary that started in 1783, but it was in 1797 that the canonical erection of the Seminario Conciliar de Caceres was accomplished under Bishop Domingo Collantes (1788-1808). Thirdly, the Most Rev. Jorge Barlin, Bishop of Caceres from 1905-1909, became the first Filipino and Diocesan Bishop. He was an alumnus of the Seminario de Conciliar de Caceres together with Jose Ma. Panganiban.
In 1910, a major reorganization of the Episcopal jurisdictions took place in the Philippines. Four new Bishoprics were created on April 10, 1910, namely Lipa, Calbayog, Tuguegarao, and Zamboanga-and the Prefecture Apostolic of Palawan. The erection of Lipa as a Diocese was beneficial to the Bishopric of Nueva Caceres because it reduced her extensive territory and made the see of Nueva Caceres exclusively for the Bicol area, covering the entire region with the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.
On April 8, 1951, the Apostolic Delegation was elevated to the rank of Apostolic Nunciature and the first Nuncio was Msgr. Egidio Vagnozzi. In his term as Apostolic Nuncio, he made a reorganization of the Philippine ecclesiastical jurisdictions. The old "Church of Caceres in Oriental Indies" became a Metropolitan See. Through the Papal Bull Quo in Philippina Republica of June 29, 1951, Pope Pius XII elevated the Diocese of Caceres into the Archdiocese of Caceres. On the same date, the Vicariates Forane of Legazpi and of Sorsogon were elevated into Episcopal Sees and were assigned as Suffragans of the Metropolitan See of Caceres. The incumbent Bishop Pedro Santos was named to head the new Ecclesiastical province as its first Archbishop. Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Caceres encompassed the civil provinces of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur. The Diocese of Legazpi comprised the civil provinces of Albay and Catanduanes and the islands of Cagraray, Batan, and Rapu-Rapu. The Diocese of Sorsogon covered the civil provinces of Sorsogon and Masbate.
The several events in the reorganization of Ecclesiastical territories in the local Churches of Bicol has been helpful in the continuous evangelization of the Bicolanos. The Ecclesiastical territories have become relatively smaller than before. However, a growing Catholic population is prevailing in the Philippines particularly in the Archdiocese of Caceres. The need for more efficient pastoral ministry and administration became a pressing demand. To solve the problem, the Most Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., D.D., Archbishop of Caceres, wrote a petition letter to his Holiness Pope John Paul II dated January 12, 1989 requesting him to create a new Ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the form of a prelature from the Archdiocese of Caceres.
The Apostolic Nuncio, Most Rev. Bruno Torpigliani reviewed the petition letter by Archbishop Legaspi. Acceding to his request, the Nuncio wrote a letter of recommendation to the Holy Father. On December 9, 1989, Pope John Paul II approved the petition. Through the Apostolic Letter Philippinis in Insulis, sixteen parishes were separated from the Archdiocese of Caceres to create a prelature to be known henceforth as the Prelature of Libmanan. The new Prelature was canonically erected on March 19, 1990, as a Suffragan of Caceres with the first Bishop, Prospero N. Arellano, D.D.
On March 25, 2009, the Territorial Prelature of Libmanan was elevated to a diocese with Bishop Jose R. Rojas Jr., D.D. as its ordinary. (Excerpts from the website.)
The region has train and land/sea transportation.
There is no industry. People thrive mainly on fishing and agriculture (crops: rice, corn, etc.).
The telecommunications services in the diocesan territory have much improved with telephone lines installed in major towns, serviced by smart and globe telecommunications.
The literacy rate in the diocesan territory is 68 percent.
The Bicolano culture is primarily noted for the prominent use of chili peppers and gata (coconut milk) in its food. A classic example is the gulay na lada, known outside the region as Bicol Express, a well-loved dish using siling labuyo (native small chillies) and the aforementioned gata.
Gonsalo Garcia was born on Feb. 5, 1556, to a Portuguese father and Indian mother of Konkani descent, at Agashi village at Bassein (now Vasai), near Mumbai city in western India. His father was a soldier stationed at Fort Bassein, a Portuguese fort. Gonsalo received his education under the Jesuits. While assisting at the Church of the Holy of Jesus at Bassein, he developed a friendship with Jesuit Father Sebastian Gonsalves, who eventually became his lifelong mentor and guide.
This Filipino layman martyr saint could be rightly called the patron of infant baptism because it was after the baptism of an infant through his instrumentality that on 2nd April 1672 Pedro was martyred along with his companion missionary Fr. Diego San Vitores who baptised the infant. This infant was of a mother who got converted to Catholicism.
Lorenzo Ruiz, also called Saint Lorenzo of Manila, is a Filipino saint venerated in the Catholic Church. A Chinese-Filipino, he became his country's protomartyr after his execution in Japan by the Tokugawa Shogunate during its persecution of Japanese Christians in the 17th century.
Andrew Kim Taegon was the first Korea-born Catholic priest ordained by the French Bishop Jean-Joseph-Jean-Baptiste Ferréol at Shanghai in 1844.
On every first Friday of the month thousands of Catholics flock to Holy Cross Church of Cherpunkal in Kerala, India to revere Infant Jesus and St. Thomas, the founder of the church. The church stands on the southern bank of Meenachil River. This fabled church, also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross)Church, belongs to Catholic Diocese of Palai of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.
St. Anthony Cathedral at Wahakotte in Kandy is a melting of cultures and religions in Sri Lanka. Wonder worker St. Anthony of Padua is a highly respected saint among Sri Lankans of all ethnicities and faiths. Thousands visit this pilgrimage site all the year round. On the feast of St. Anthony on June 13, this national Catholic shrine draws tens of thousands of faithful from all over the country.