Geographically the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan is situated in the center 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, and 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 II 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 Augustinians 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 Augustinians, 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 II, 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 an 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 the 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 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.
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