The Diocese of Antipolo was created on January 24, 1983 and was canonically erected on June 25, 1983 at the Shrine Parish of the Immaculate Conception in Antipolo, Rizal. It was carved out of the Archdiocese of Manila, taking mostly the eastern part of Rizal. It includes under its jurisdiction 16 municipalities, among them Antipolo, Angono, Baras, Marikina, Montalban. It is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Manila.
The first missionaries in the territory which now comprises the Diocese of Antipolo were the Franciscans who came in 1578 and set camp in the town of Taytay. Later Antipolo became part of this mission territory. Because of the lack of personnel the Franciscan eventually gave up both places and the Jesuits took over.
Due to frequent flooding in the town of Taytay, and because the population of Antipolo grew considerably around the year 1595, the mission center was transferred from Taytay to Antipolo. In 1597 the town of Cainta was added to the mission.
In 1603 the building of a new church in Antipolo began. The final edifice as it stands today was finally completed in 1726, more than a hundred years later. But in between there were intermediate churches, and one of them, completed in 1633, became the shrine of a little brown image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It had been brought by Governor Niño de Tabora from Acapulco in 1626. This statue was to become known as Our Lady of Antipolo.
When later the statue was borne across the Pacific by the galleons as their tutelary patroness, it became known as Our Lady of Peace and Happy Voyage – Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje. In 1950 Antipolo was proclaimed the national shrine of Our Lady by the bishops of the country. Although the church in Antipolo as a shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of Peace and Happy Voyage, the titular patroness of the church as a parish has always been the Immaculate Conception.
The Diocese of Antipolo has a land area of 1,859 square kilometers. In 1983, upon its creation, the estimated population of the area was about 900,000 of which 83 per cent were Catholics. The diocese then had 21 parishes. Today, over the same land area, the population has grown to over 2,000,000 of which 85 per cent are Catholics. While the clergy has also grown in number, the percentage gap between faithful and clergy has widened. The diocese is therefore worse off now that it was twelve years ago, in terms of number of priests to population.
Today the Diocese of Antipolo has 29 parishes with 45 diocesan and 8 religious priests ministering to it. The present set-up now divides the diocese into 2 ecclesiastical districts and 4 vicariates.
In 1988 diocesan consultations were held among the clergy, the religious and the laity to arrive at a diocesan vision. The diocesan ministries were streamlined, functions defined, all for the purpose of serving the pastoral and spiritual needs of the People of God in the diocese. Today the diocese has seven ministries through which pastoral programs are conceived and implemented. These are the Ministries of Worship and Liturgy, Evangelization and Lay Formation, Social and Human Development, Temporalities, Youth, Vocation and Family Life.
After the conclusion of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines in 1991, another diocesan convention was called to discuss the documents and resolutions of PCP II. Here the groundwork was laid for the holding of a diocesan synod that would work in line with the Acts and Decrees of PCP II.
This First Diocesan Synod of Antipolo was finally held on February 22-27, 1993 at the St. Michael Retreat House in Antipolo with 110 representatives attending, representing the clergy, the religious and the laity. The Synod was a follow-up of the previous diocesan consultations, and a stride ahead to follow in the footsteps of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, for the realizaiton of renewal in the local church. The theme of the First Diocesan Synod of Antipolo was BAGONG NILIKHA, BAGONG PAGKATAO (Eph 4:24).
Today, a year after the promulgation of the Acts and Decrees of the First Diocesan Synod of Antipolo, the diocese is on its way to implementing them in response to the call and the needs, pastoral and spiritual, of the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Antipolo.Read more...