In a land area of 1,648 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the City of Zamboanga.
Zamboanga City is a highly urbanized city located in Mindanao, Philippines. It is currently ranked as the 6th most populous city and the 3rd largest by area in the Philippines. It is located at the southernmost tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula and is bounded in the north by the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte, in the west by the Sulu Sea, in the east by Sibugay Bay, and in the south by the Basilan Strait.
Zamboanga City commands the sea lanes of southwestern Philippines. It is the Philippine's gateway to Southeast Asia. The city is the nearest major urban center to the ASEAN neighbors: Malaysia, Brunei, Sarawak and Singapore; and through them, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and southern China. Farther to the west, through the Indian Ocean, is the Indian subcontinent with giant India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Zamboanga City has at least 25 island communities and 98 barangays (villages; 28 urban barangays and 70 rural barangays), divided into two congressional districts.
As of year end 2017 the total population of Zamboanga archdiocese is 970,600 of which 72 percent are Catholics of equivalent to 698,830.
The major language in Zamboanga City is Zamboangueño Chavacano, a Philippine-Spanish Creole. Other common languages in the city are Tagalog, English and Bisaya. Fookien (a Chinese dialect) and Tausug are also prevalent.
English is still the language used in all the school system to educate the public. Filipino or Tagalog is the second language used for education.
ARCHDIOCESE OF ZAMBOANGA
Created Diocese: April 10, 1910
Elevated to Archdiocese: May 19, 1958
Comprises the City of Zamboanga
Suffragans: the Prelatures of Ipil and Isabela, Basilan and the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo
Titular: Our Lady of Pillar
Secondary Patron: St. Pius X, Pope
From 1607 to 1910 the entire island of Mindanao was under the Diocese of Cebu and Jaro. On April 10, 1910, Pope Pius X created the Diocese of Zamboanga and gave it jurisdiction over the whole island of Mindanao, including the adjacent islands of the Sulu Archipelago and the island of Cagayan de Sulu. The faith first came to Zamboanga in 1635 with the arrival of the first missionaries, Father Melchor de Vera and Father Alejandro Lopez, both Jesuits. The Spanish authorities were always at war with the Muslims then. Their efforts to subdue the Muslims always resulted in reprisal raids in Zamboanga and the Visayan Islands. In Zamboanga, Fort Pilar, in honor of Our Lady of the Pillar, was constructed in 1636. Two Jesuits priests died as martyrs in their efforts to win the Muslims through diplomacy - Father Francisco Paliola and Father Alejanrdo Lopez.
On Jan. 20, 1933, Pope Pius XI divided the Mindanao area into two - the whole southern portion, including the Sulu Archipelago, under the jurisdiction of Zamboanga, and the northern portion under the Diocese of Cagayan de Oro. In 1951, Cagayan de Oro was elevated to an archdiocese, the first in the island of Mindanao. And all episcopal jurisdictions in Mindanao and Sulu, including that of Zamboanga, became suffragans of this archdiocese.
The Diocese of Zamboanga was further divided when the Diocese of Davao was established and separated in 1949; the Prelature of Cotabato in 1950; the Prelature of Isabela, Basilan, in 1967, and finally the Prelature of Ipil in 1980.
Zamboanga was raised to an archdiocese on May 15, 1958 by Pope Pius XII. As an ecclesiastical province, the Archdiocese of Zamboanga now comprises the City of Zamboanga and part of the province of Zamboanga del Sur. As suffragans it has the Prelature of Ipil, also in Zamboanga del Sur, the Prelature of Isabela, Basilan, and the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo. Its titular patroneses is Our Lady of the Pillar, and its secondary patron is St. Pius X, Pope.
The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines adopted the Community of Disciples as the prime model of the Church, with the special attribute of being a Church of the Poor. For the church in Zamboanga, the challenge is to incarnate in the archdiocese the vision of PCP II.
History of the City
The evolution of the name "Zamboanga" provides an interesting insight into its historical background. The early Malay settlers called the region "Jambangan", which means Land of the Flowers.
These Malays who built their settlements by the river banks were the subanons that is the "People of the River". Their chief, Saragan, lived with his family atop the legendary Mount Pulumbato that today lords over Pasonanca and Climaco Freedom Park (formerly Abong-Abong Park) then later on, the Samals and the Badjaos who came on their frail vintas also settled here, building their frail huts along the shorelines and confused "Jambangan" with "Samboangan" which comes from the word "Sabuan", the wooden pole used to help push their vintas in shallow waters or to tie them for anchorage purposes.
The Spanish colonizers found difficulty in pronouncing "Samboangan" and instead called the place "Zamboanga".
It was in 1569 when the Spaniards made their presence felt with a small Catholic Mission established briefly at La Caldera, now known as Recodo.
Much later on June 23, 1635, the cornerstone of what is now known as Fort Pilar was laid by Father Melchor de Vera, a Jesuit Priest-Engineer and the Spanish authorities. This date marked the change of the name of the place from Samboangan to Zamboanga. It is the city's founding date.
In 1899, immediately after the Spanish-American War in the Philippines, the United States of America established full authority in Zamboanga. A special form of government was established in Mindanao and Sulu. Zamboanga was made the capital. The first form of which was the Moro province and during the 12 years of its existence, the American Military Government in the Philippines converted Zamboanga into a city in the Commission Form, the first province of Mindanao to become a city. However, the government of the Moro Province was abolished to give way to a new form of government, the Department of Mindanao and Sulu. This form of government entrusted to the Filipino residents of Zamboanga practically all positions in government.
The Commonwealth of the Philippines on 1936 declared Zambaonga a Charter City. Progress and development in Zamboanga continued and in 1983, the Minister Interior Jose Roño proclaimed Zamboanga City a highly urbanized city.
The website of Diocese is available at: www.zamboangaarchdiocese.com
Zamboanga City is a chartered City of the Philippines. It is an independent entity and not a part of any province in the Philippines. The City government is represented by a mayor, a vice-mayor, two congressional seats and 8 city councilors for each district totaling 16 councilors. The city council is chaired by the vice-mayor.
Zamboanga City is the third oldest city in the Philippines, with a strong mayor-council form of government. The city received its own representation for the Philippine Congress since 1984. The former lone congressional district was divided into two separate districts: the West District (I) from the City Proper to Limpapa, while in the East District (II) from Tetuan to Licomo.
Congresswoman Beng Climaco of District I was elected House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao and Women during the 15th Congress of the Philippines, a very important position that is considered to be the first for a representative from Zamboanga City.
The City of Zamboanga is composed of more than 774,407 people since 2007. Under the Republic Act No. 9269, Zamboanga City is qualified to have a third district representative in the House of Representatives of Congress.
The common mode of transportation in Zamboanga is by a jeepney or a tricycle. Buses are used for long-distance travels, there are bus companies serving the city to other major cities in Mindanao. There are also bicycles with sidecars (locally known as sikad) which are used to ferry passengers in short distances. Taxi service in the city is not well-established, although there are some independent taxis.
The Port of Zamboanga is an international port of entry. It has a schedule passenger trip to Sandakan, Malaysia, a cruise ship destination and several shipping lines offer regular trips from and to Davao, Cotabato, Dipolog/Dapitan, General Santos, Pagadian, Jolo, Bongao, Isabela City, Cebu City, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Bacolod and Manila.
Falls under the third and fourth types of climate. Seasons are not very pronounced, relatively dry from the December to April, minimal rain from May to August and wet on September and October. The city is rarely visited by typhoons.
Catholics: The city contains the first Catholic diocese in Mindanao, today's Archdiocese of Zamboanga which was created in 1910 and elevated to an archdiocese in 1958. Others were Protestants, Seventh day Adventists, Church of Latter day Saints and Iglesia ni Cristo.
Followers of other religions are mostly Muslims. The Muslims have been an integral part of Zamboanga City since the beginning. Before any other religions were practiced in Zamboanga City, The Muslim religion already had a firm hold of the area. It is estimated that approximately 22 percent of the people in Zamboanga City are Muslims. Some barangays of Zamboanga City are populated by 100 percent Muslim. These barangays with Muslim majority population do not celebrate "Fiestas". Instead, they celebrate Hari-Raya.
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.