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Papal Nuncio to lead Pangasinan cathedral rites

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines  – The Papal Nuncio is set to come here tomorrow for the ceremonies marking the historic transfer of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Lingayen-Dagupan from Zamora street to its new site in Burgos street by virtue of a decree from the Holy See mandating the same act.

This, after the Holy Father approved the petition of Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas that the church of Saint John The Evangelist in Burgos street this city, be recognized as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Lingayen-Dagupan.

The formal transfer of the Seat of the Metropolitan Archbishop will be presided by Msgr. Edward Joseph Adams, the Papal Nuncio at 4 p.m.

This will be attended by several archbishops, bishops from other dioceses/archdioceses as well as priests and the Catholic faithful in Pangasinan, mostly coming from this city.

In his circular letter to the clergy, Villegas said that Pope Benedict XVI “has withdrawn the title “Cathedral” from the Church of Saint John the Evangelist located at Zamora street.”

By an act of Villegas promulgated on Nov. 1, 2010, the church on Zamora street was made an archdiocesan shrine and became the “Sanctuario de San Juan Evangelista.”

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The church on Zamora street was built in 1713. It was destroyed by a fire but subsequently rebuilt in 1892.

When the church along Burgos street was built in 1974, the old Cathedral church was abandoned in favor of the bigger church.

The big earthquake of 1990 severely destroyed the old church.

When Msgr. Oscar Cruz became the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, he took the initial steps to renovate the destroyed church. In 1992, the restoration and renovation work started.

On Feb. 10, 2001, a simple ceremony of re-dedication of the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist was presided over by Cruz.

The new and bigger St. John the Evangelist Church along Burgos street was consecrated as Cathedral of the Metropolitan See of Lingayen-Dagupan by Msgr. Bruno Torpigliani in 1974.

However, the Holy See failed to receive and confirm the act of Torpigliani.

Thirty-six years after the dedication of Torpigliani, the incumbent Lingayen-Dagupan archbishop formally petitioned the Holy See that it recognize the church along Burgos street as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Linga­yen-Dagupan.

In his article about the history of the Archdiocese, Msgr. Rafael Magno, Jr., the Vicar General and Chancellor of the Archdiocese, wrote that “all the parishes of Pangasinan fell within the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Nueva Segovia who had jurisdiction over the whole of northern Luzon.”

He added that, “On May 19, 1928, the Diocese of Lingayen (comprising the whole civil province of Pangasinan, 11 towns of Tarlac and 10 towns of Nueva Ecija, and three towns of Zambales) was separated from the mother diocese.

Since 1928, the episcopal seat of the new diocese was Lingayen.

But on May 11, 1954, it was moved to Dagupan because of the destruction wrought by World War II. It took 25 years for Pangasinan to become an archdiocese.

Also tomorrow at 8 a.m., the Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese will have two new priests and a deacon to be ordained by Villegas at the new cathedral.

To be ordained priests are Jasper Hebron from Lingayen and Allan Soriano from Malasiqui while to be ordained as deacon is Dexter Cariño from Dagupan City.

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