Brief History of the Archdiocese of Davao

Davao became a Catholic community as early as 1848 when the Augustinian Recollects arrived, then the Jesuits after them.

Davao City used to be the capital of the entire Davao Province until it became a chartered city on October 16, 1936. In 1967 the province of Davao was subdivided into three: Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental.

Davao city is situated in the province of Davao del Sur. It lies on the estern edge of the province facing the Davao Gulf which opens out to the Celebes Sea. Although Davao City is no longer the capital of what used to be the entire Davao Province, it has remained a principal commercial center for all the Davao provinces and the eastern and southern sections of Mindanao. In land area it is among the biggest cities in the world. It is populated mostly by migrants and is involved actively in the inter-island as well as foreign shipping. Its beaches, e.g., the Aguinaldo Pearl Farm, have become tourist attractions. 

The Archdiocese of Davao was erected prelature on December 17, 1949. It was elevated into a diocese on July 11, 1966, and into an archdiocese on June 29, 1970. The archdiocese comprises the city of Davao and the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte. It has under its jurisdiction the Suffragan Dioceses of Digos, Tagum and Mati, three towns that are now the capital cities of the three Davao provinces. Its titular patron is St. Peter the Apostle, whose feast is celebrated on June 29. The population of the Archdiocese is 1.8 million people, of which 84 percent are Catholics. 

The First Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly of Davao (APAD II) was held on November 4-6, 1982. Other pastoral conferences were held after this to confirm throughout the succeeding years the realization that God has been working through the Holy Spirit in Davao, where the people are disposed to listen and to readily accept Jesus Christ and the Good News when properly and adequately oriented. 

Spurred on by the innovations of the Vatican Council II, the Archdiocese of Davao moved to solidify its faith-structures - the seminaries, schools, parish churches. Pastoral programs for services were identified and given new impetus.

The decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), already recognized by the Holy See and promulgated to the Filipino people on July 22, 1992, have been a great source of direction with its "vision of ourselves as a Community of Disciples, centering our lives in Jesus and following Him in His mission of salvation and liberation through urgent renewal."

To implement the decrees of PCP II, the Second Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly of Davao was convened on May 9-14, 1994. Taking a second look at the vision of the archdiocese, reassessing its pastoral situation, and planning out the next five to ten years, APAD II stated its new vision-mission:

In the situation of a situation distressed by widespread and dehumanizing poverty, socio-political injustices, and cultural and religious decadence, the faithful and clergy of the Archdiocese of Davao envision a community afire with the Holy Spirit, mature in faith, and witnessing to truth, love freedom, justice and peace. In the implementation of its mission, the faithful commit themselves to a radical conversion, to an integrity of life, to a participative Church of the poor, to a renewed integral evangelization and to a restoration of Filipino cultures. 

The Archdiocese of Davao is headed by Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, D.D., aided by Auxillary Bishop George B. Rimando, D.D., Archbishop-Emeritus Fernando R. Capalla, and 90 diocesan priests and 68 religious priests in ministering to the faithful in 36 parishes.
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