with that of its sister province, Camarines Sur since the sixteenth century. At that time they were just one province which the Spaniards called Tierra de Camarines – land
of grain storehouses, as the place abounded with stored grain.
Christianity was first introduced in the Bicol area in 1569 by Fray Alonso Jimenez, OSA. Then Captain Andres Ibarra explored the region.
Captain Juan Salcedo was reported to have passed through Paracale, founded a settlement which he named Ciudad de Caceres, after Caceres in Spain. In 1594 the Camarineses were placed under the jurisdiction of the
Franciscans, and this arrangement lasted till the end of the Spanish regime.
In 1829 Ambos Camarines – both Camarineses – were separated into two provinces, but were merged again in 1824. They were separated
again in 1857 and merged again in 1893. In 1919 the Philippine Legislature decreed the final separation of the single province into Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur.
In 1595 the Diocese of Caceres was created,
and covered the territories of the Camarineses, Albay, Masbate, Catanduanes, Samar and Tayabas. Bishop Luis Baldonado was its first bishop. In 1910 the Diocese of Lipa was established and took over the other
provinces leaving only the Bicol Region to the Diocese of Caceres.
In 1951 the Diocese of Nueva Caceres became an archdiocese. On May 27, 1974 the Diocese of Daet was born and became a suffragan of the
Archdiocese of Caceres. The Most Reverend Celestino Enverga was installed as its first bishop. The diocese comprises the civil province of Camarines Norte composed of 12 towns and 316 barangays. Land
area covered is 2,112 square kilometers, holding a population of 400,676 of which 96 per cent are Catholics. Its titular patron is the Most Holy Trinity, with St. Joseph the Worker as its secondary patron whose
feast is celebrated by the diocese on May 1.
Camarines Norte is the northernmost province of the Bicol Peninsula or Region V. It is bounded on its north by Lamon Bay and the Pacific Ocean which accounts for its
abundant supply of fish. Palay and corn are planted in the valleys, abaca in the hills. The scenic beauty of its beaches is well known.
But the most important natural resource which has attracted Spaniards
and Americans alike in the past are the gold, silver and other deposits found in Camarines Norte, particularly in the town of Paracale where gold in mined. Statistics show that next to the Mountain Province (now
Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province and Kalinga-Apayao) Camarines Norte is the riches mine resource in the country.
In the diocese a variety of activities is in progress to safeguard and promote the faith of
the people. Pastoral letters are read at Sunday Mass and discussed in meetings and over the radio, then sent to leaders of associations and business to be clarified further to subordinates and associates.
In the area of vigilance, special concern is being devoted to the Catholic charismatic movements, to ensure that these remain truly Catholic. The voice of the Shepherd of the Diocese is heard by the
flock over local radio at 4:00 every Sunday afternoon in his weekly "Bishop's Hour." In his program the bishop updates the faithful on the various pastoral activities in the diocese.
There is also the
weekly program "Radio Domenica" aired simultaneously over AM and FM stations. This program has been on air since 1981, and gives out local, national and international news on the Church, followed by
portions dealing with the universal catechism, family life and Christian values.
The bishop, other members of the clergy and parish representatives gathered two years ago for a week of prayer and discernment at the
"Sacro Costato" retreat house in Quezon City, afte which a vision-mission statement was issued. The diocese then teamed up with the Asian Social Institute for the preparation of its Participatory Action
Research Program which led to the diocesan pastoral assemblies in 1993-1994. A pastoral secretariat has been established to supervise and coordinate these activities.
On the financial side, the diocese
occasionally receives financial grants from foreign institutions for pastoral and socio-economic projects. The Archdiocese of Cologne (Germany) has been exceptionally generous in this regard.
The Diocese of Daet
has 5 vicariates and 18 parishes served by 62 priests and 23 religious brothers and sisters. There are now, as of this writing, 24 Basic Ecclesial Communities established in the diocese.