Sunday, December 11, 2011

On the need for more priests: the situation in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan

It is incredible to note that, to this very day, three metropolitan provinces (Nueva Segovia or Vigan, Lingayen-Dagupan and Tuguegarao) covering 3 archdioceses and 11 dioceses [plus two Apostolic Vicariates directly reporting to the Apostolic Nuncio]  spread out over three entire regions of the Philippines (Region 1 or "Ilocos Region", Region 2 or "Cagayan Valley Region" and the Cordillera Autonomous Region) plus the large province of Nueva Ecija in the central Luzon plain, send most of their theology (that is, post-college) students to just one theological school: the Immaculate Conception School of Theology in Vigan (the current see city of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia). To alleviate the situation the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan has initiated fund-raising for a new Theology school to be located in Brgy. Palapad, San Fabian, Pangasinan. 

This comes against the background of the acute priest shortage in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. According to the archdiocesan website:

The Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan comprises sixteen municipalities and two cities including the capital town of the Province of Pangasinan. It has a Catholic population of one million two hundred thousand composed of thirty three parishes. There are only fifty nine diocesan priests and twelve religious priests ministering to the huge Catholic population. 
As of the year 2011, there are one hundred three high school seminarians, thirty-two seminarians in philosophy and eighteen seminarians in theology. The nearest theology seminary is three hundred kilometers away from the archdiocese in Vigan City, the Immaculate Conception School of Theology.

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