The Archdiocese of Jaro is composed of Province of Iloilo in the Islands of Panay and the Province of Guimaras, a small island lying opposite the southeastern portion of the mainland. The mainland portion itself occupies the southern and northeastern areas of Panay Island. Its borders are defined by the Diocese of San Jose de Antique in the west and the Archdiocese of Capiz in the north, with the Visayan Sea and Guimaras Strait in the east and the Panay Gulf and Iloilo Strait in the south and southeast.
The Archdiocese has ninety-two (92) parishes, eighty-five of which are under the direction of the diocesan clergy, and six (6) under the direction of the religious priests. The Metropolitan Cathedral is located in Jaro, a district of the City of Iloilo.
It has a land area of 5,324.0 square kilometres, representing 1.8 percent of the total land area of the country. In 2009, the report of the government shows that it has a total population of 2,333,141.
The province is predominantly rural with 72.7 percent of the total population residing in rural areas and only 27.3 percent in urban area. Agriculture, forestry and fishing are the leading major industries.
The diocese of Jaro whose Patron Saint is St. Elizabeth of Hungary was officially erected by virtue of the Apostolic Bull “Qui Ab Initio” of His Holiness Pope Pius IX, of holy memory. The said Apostolic Bull was issued in Rome on May 27, 1865.
Yet it was only on October 10, 1867 when the decree took effect and Jaro was made an Episcopal See, according to the document signed by His Excellency Dr. D. Gregorio Meliton Martinez, then Archbishop of Manila and executor-delegate of the decree. It is worth noting that this “decretum executorium” was also signed by the Rev. Jose Burgos, Pro-Secretary, a secular priest who became one of the outstanding martyr-heroes of the country.
Jaro was made separate from and independent of its mother Diocese of Cebu and became a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Manila. Its territories comprised the Islands of Panay, (now composed of the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, and Antique), Negros Island (now provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental), Romblon, Palawan and Jolo Groups, and the provinces of Cotabato, Zamboanga and Davao in Mindanao. Sr. Dr. Fr. Mariano Cuartero, OP, became its first bishop in April 25, 1868.
The 20th century saw the Diocese reached full maturity and attain self-sufficiency. Because of this, its territories were further divided to form new ecclesiastical jurisdictions. Zamboanga was made a Diocese in 1910 while Palawan was made an Apostolic Prelature in the same year; then Bacolod in 1933, Capiz in 1951 and finally the Prelature of San Jose, Antique in 1962 as suffragans.
Concurrently,with the elevation of Jaro to an Archdiocese, the first Filipino Bishop, the Most Rev. Jose Ma. Cuenco, DD, PhD, LIB, was raised to the rank of Metropolitan Archbishop, thereby making him the first Archbishop of Jaro.
On January 17, 1976, Pope Paul VI elevated Capiz to the rank of Archdiocese, with the dioceses of Romblon and Kalibo as its suffragans. The Archdiocese of Jaro was left with the dioceses of Bacolod (which eventually was divided into three (3) dioceses, to wit, Bacolod, San Carlos, and Kabankalan) and San Jose de Antique as its suffragans.
The Prelates who governed the Archdiocese of Jaro since its foundation are the following:
1. Bishop Mariano Cuartero, OP 1868-1884
2. Bishop Andres Ferrero, ORSA 1885-1897
3. Bishop Leandro Arrue, ORSA 1898-1903
4. Bishop Frederick Rooker, PhD 1903-1907
5. Bishop Dennis Daugherty, STD 1908-1916 (Later elevated Cardinal-Archbishop of Philadelphia, USA)
6. Bishop Maurice P. Foley, STD 1916-1919
7. Bishop James MacCloskey, STD 1920-1945
8. Bishop Jose Ma. Cuenco, PhD, LIB 1945-1951 ( Elevated Archbishop 1951-1972)
9. Archbishop Jaime L. Sin 1972-1974 (Transferred to Manila and Elevated to Cardinal)
10. Archbishop Artemio G. Casas, STD 1974-1986
11. Archbishop Alberto J. Piamonte, JCD 1986 – Dec. 17, 1998
(After his death, Rt. Rev Msgr. Jose M. Gamboa, HP was elected Diocesan Administrator until May 8, 2000)
12. Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D. 2000 -up to the present
1. Christian name and surname: ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO
2. Rank in the hierarchy: Archbishop
3. Nationality at birth: Filipino
4. Present Nationality: Filipino
5. Mother tongue: TAGALOG Other languages spoken: EnglisH, CEBUANO, ILONGGO
Reading knowledge : LATIN, SPANISH
6. Any supra-diocesan appointments: Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines President, 2006-2010
Other Bishops working or residing in the Ecclesiastical Territory:
1. Christian name and surname: GERARDO A. ALMINAZA
2. Rank: Auxiliary Bishop / Vicar General
3. Nationality at birth : Filipino
4. Present Nationality : Filipino
5. Mother tongue: Hiligaynon (Ilonggo) Other languages spoken: English, Spanish, Tagalog, Italian
6. Any supra-diocesan appointments: Member, CBCP Permanent Council
4. Vicar General/ Episcopal Vicar
Read more about Bishop Gerry Alminaza here.
1. Christian name and surname: Rev. Msgr. HIGINIO C. VELARDE, JCD,PA
2. Date of Birth: February 25, 1944
3. Date of priestly ordination: March 16, 1969
4. Date of appointment: September 5, 2006
5. Extent of jurisdiction and activity entrusted to him: Chancery Affairs & Dispensations
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