Geographically the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan is situated in the central of the province of Pangasinan. It has a land area of 1,565 square kilometers. It is bounded on the east by the Diocese of Urdaneta, on the west by the Diocese of Alaminos, both places also in Pangasinan. On the south it is bounded by the province and Diocese of Tarlac, and on the north and northwest by the Lingayen Gulf and the Diocese of San Fernando, La Union.
A majority of the people speak the Pangasinan dialect. The people are bound by strong family ties. The family is traditionally religious, and most local interactions are characterized by religious tradition. Most social celebrations are also related to religious events.
Historically, Pangasinan figures prominently as the battleground for many wars in the country. Lingayen Gulf was the headquarters of the Chinese pirate Limahong who came even ahead of the Spanish forces. In World War 11 General Douglas MacArthur landed in Lingayen to resume military operations against Japan. Andres Malong, a Filipino officer commissioned with the Spanish forces, led the first revolt of the province in 1660.The Augustinian were the first missionaries to arrive in Pangasinan. But they found the people unresponsive, addicted to idolatry and the so-called Anitos (worship of spirits). Unable to make much headway, they proceeded north to the Ilocos provinces, but not before having founded the big towns of Lingayen, Dagupan and Manaoag. Some secular priests and some Franciscans are also recorded as among the first missionaries of Pangasinan. But like the Augustinian, they also went north abandoning the so-called barren and unfruitful land.
The Dominicans were the most successful missionaries in Pangasinan and they stayed until the Revolution of 1898. As early as 1587, they established the town of Binalatongan, now San Carlos City. Other big towns they founded are Calasiao, Binmaley, Santa Barbara and San Fabian. Meanwhile the Augustinian Recollects evangelized the western part of the province which is now the territory of the Diocese of Alarninos.
The Diocese of Lingayen was erected on May 19, 1928, comprising the entire province of Pangasinan. In 1954, because of the destruction brought on Lingayen by World War 11, the See was transferred to Dagupan, and the diocese is now known as the Diocese of Lingayen Dagupan. On Jan. 12,1985 the western part of Pangasinan was made the Diocese of Alaminos, and the eastern part the Diocese of Urdaneta, both dioceses becoming suffragans of Lingayen-Dagupan along with the dioceses of Cabanatuan, San Jose (Nueva Ecija) and San Fernando (La union). In 1963 the diocese was elevated to an archdiocese.
Pastoral activities are concentrated on worship, catholic education, Youth apostolate, social action and pastoral work with the family. A noteworthy innovation is the attention given to worship. The archdiocese is achieving progress in making the liturgy the framework of worship. Devotions remain popular, but adequate success has been achieved to integrate these with liturgy. Thus, devotions to saints, who are local favorites, have been weaned off the novena syndrome and integrated with the celebration of the Mass.
On social action, Archbishop Oscar V Cruz established the Caritas Dagupan, the primary objective of which is to help the poor of Christ help themselves through livelihood and health projects. The Archdiocesan Commission on social Action and Allied Services initiates programs that encourage entrepreneurship among the rural communities. The Commission grants financial assistance to rural folks so they can put up small scale industries, or organize cooperatives to eventually improve their standard of living.
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.