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Diocese of Kabankalan


The entire island of Negros once belonged to the Diocese of Bacolod which was created May 6, 1933, separating Negros from the jurisdiction of Cebu, then Jaro. In 1955 the Diocese of Dumaguete was created comprising Negros Oriental, separating this province from the jurisdiction of Bacolod. In 1987 two more subdivisions took place, the creation of the Diocese of Kabankalan for the southern portion of Negros Occidental, and that of San Carlos for the eastern part. The Diocese of Bacolod now has only the northern portion of the province under its jurisdiction.

The entire southern portion of Negros Occidental which comprises the Diocese of Kabankalan extends from the town of La Castellana, just below Carlota City, all the way to Hinoba-an on the southern coast of the province. It covers 11 municipalities occupying a total land area of 3,924 square kilometers and a population of 653,016 of which 85 per cent are Catholics. Its titular patron is St. Francis Xavier whose feast the diocese celebrates December 3. It is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Jaro.

The Augustinian missionaries were the pioneers in the Christianization of Negros Island. They arrived between 1566 to 1569. Miguel Lopez de Legaspi also explored the place when he transferred his headquarters from Cebu to Panay. The island of Negros is named after the Negritos that were found living on the island when the Spaniards arrived.

Negros formed a single province with Panay until 1734, when it was constituted as a separate province. In 1890 the island was split into the provinces that exist today – Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.

In 1950 the then Bishop of Bacolod, Most Reverend Manuel Yap invited the Columban Fathers to take over the area that now comprises the area of the Diocese of Kabankalan. The Columbans built schools which helped to evangelize the faithful. In the 1970's the diocesan clergy began to take over.

The Basic Ecclesial Communities in the area were first organized in the 1970's. This brought first suspicion, then harassment, from some quarters in the province. In 1984 a typhoon of cyclonic proportions ravaged the area. This got the local clergy to start development projects that could uplift the condition of the inhabitants, mostly landless peasants. The church in Kabankalan is still very much involved in these projects today.

At present there exists a unified pastoral action in the diocese. The official teachings of the Church contained in papal encyclicals, ecumenical councils, CBCP pastoral letters have been made sources of information and bases for pastoral activities besides Scriptures and tradition. The acceptance of these doctrines has been phenomenal on the part of the simple and devout members of the parishes, especially among the poor. Difficulties are being encountered in the acceptance by the ruling elite, the politicians and the military groups who tend to misinterpret the new pastoral thrust of the Catholic Church.

Characteristic of the times, westernized life-styles and attitudes which breed materialism and commercialism are influencing the lives of the people. To counteract this phenomenon, the clergy, religious and the laity in the diocese are initiating a series of seminars that will reach all the way down to grassroots levels, orienting the faithful on the Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, with the end in view of bringing up a dialogue—the holding of a Diocesan Congress in 1996. In preparation, a vision-mission statement of the Diocese of Kabankalan has been prepared for ratification in this forthcoming congress.

There are 11 parishes and 10 chaplaincies today in the diocese, served by 41 priests. Among its Catholic institutions are 3 colleges, 19 high schools, 9 elementary schools and 8 kindergarten schools. The number of BEC's in the entire diocese now stands at 653, involving 36 pastoral workers.




Most Rev.
Ordained priest:
Ordained bishop:
Appointed First Bishop of Kabankalan:


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