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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Novaliches (Latin: ''Dioecesis Novalichesina''; Filipino: ''Diyosesis ng Novaliches'') is a diocese of the Latin Church of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines. The diocese was created by Pope John Paul II on December 7, 2002 by virtue of his Apostolic Constitution ''Animarum Utilitati'', and was canonically erected on January 16, 2003 from the Archdiocese of Manila. The diocese previously existed as the Ecclesiastical District of Quezon City-North, which was renamed the District of Novaliches in 2002. As of September 2018, the diocese is composed of 70 full-fledged parishes (five of which are diocesan shrines) and one mission area, clustered into twelve vicariates. Its titular seat or patron is Jesus, the Good Shepherd, after the cathedral or seat of the diocese, the Archdiocesan Shrine and Cathedral-Parish of the Good Shepherd.


Territorial Jurisdiction


The diocese comprises the northern part of Caloocan and the northern part of Quezon City, starting from Tandang Sora Avenue leading northward and comprising District 2 (all barangays), District 5 (all barangays), Barangay Matandang Balara (from District 3), and some barangays in District 6, namely: Pasong Tamo, Sauyo, and Talipapa, including portions of Tandang Sora and Culiat found north of Tandang Sora Avenue.

History

The history of the Diocese of Novaliches can be traced to the creation of the town of Novaliches in the 1800s during the Spanish colonization period in the Philippines. General Manuel Pavía was named Governor-General of the Philippine Islands. He arrived in Manila in 1854 with the task of establishing a penal colony where prisoners would be granted lands they would develop in exchange for their release. The colony was given the name ''Hacienda Tala'' since the once heavily-forested area became identical to one where a star (“tala”) had fallen after clearing. This hacienda grew into a larger community that eventually merged with the ''haciendas'' of Malinta and Piedad in forming the independent town of Novaliches on January 26, 1856. Novaliches (which present-day area is now shared by Quezon City and Caloocan) became part of the Province of Bulacan until 1858, when it was annexed to the Province of Manila. The name Novaliches came from the name of a small village 60 kilometers away from the city of Valencia, Spain that was awarded to General Pavía, who was given the title Marqués of Novaliches by Queen Isabella II in 1840 for having defended her from the claims of her uncle Prince Carlos during the First Carlist War (1833-1839). Soon after the establishment of the new town, Manila Archbishop José Julián de Aranguren, O.A.R. decreed the creation of its parish on September 24, 1856. The chapel of the Corpus Christi was elevated to the status of a ''parroquia'' (parish church) and Fray Andres Martin, O.S.A., an Augustinian priest from Spain, was appointed as the first parish priest. The parish church was dedicated in honor of Nuestra Senora de la Merced (Our Lady of Mercy). However, the church was burned during the Philippine Revolution of 1896, and the assigned Augustinian priests returned to Spain. The parcel of land where the ''parroquia'' once stood was donated to the Archdiocese of Manila. In 1899, Novaliches ceded its township to the Municipality of Caloocan. It was in 1928 when the parish was restored with the appointment of a diocesan parish priest, Father Victor Raymundo. In 1962, following the canonical erection of the Dioceses of Imus and Malolos from the Archdiocese of Manila, the Our Lady of Mercy Parish stood as the only existing parish in the area now belonging to the Diocese of Novaliches. Before Cardinal Santos' death in 1973, a new parish was erected: the Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Urduja Village, Caloocan. The growth of the Catholic faith in the area would be evidenced by the establishment of parishes in Fairview (1975), Lagro (1977), and Bagbag (1978) - which took place during the early years of leadership of Manila Archbishop Jaime L. Cardinal Sin. Cardinal Sin divided Quezon City into four vicariates on December 3, 1974. These are the Vicariates of Santa Rita, Holy Family, Saint Joseph, and Santo Nino. Our Lady of Mercy Parish was placed under the Vicariate of Santo Nino, along with parishes of Santo Niño (Bagobantay), Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Project 6), Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Project 8), and Our Lady of Hope (Pag-Asa), which presently belong to the Diocese of Cubao. On August 10, 1987, the Ecclesiastical District of Quezon City was divided into two: Quezon City-North and Quezon City-South. The new Ecclesiastical District of Quezon City-North comprised the Vicariates of Good Shepherd, Our Lady of Mercy, Ascension of Our Lord, and Saint Joseph, although some parishes belonging to the present-day Diocese of Novaliches were still belonging to the Vicariate of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the southern district at that time. Following the appointment of Quezon City-North District Bishop Francisco Claver, S.J. as Apostolic Vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani was designated by Cardinal Sin to head the two districts of KALMANA (Kalookan-Malabon-Navotas) and Quezon City-North. Bishop Bacani designated Fr. Alfonso Bugaoan, Jr., parish priest of Saint Joseph Parish in Project 3, as his Episcopal Vicar for Quezon City-North. The Ecclesiastical District of Quezon City-North was renamed District of Novaliches on March 15, 2002, in preparation for the creation of new dioceses in Metro Manila as response to the growing number of Catholic faithful. Pope John Paul II established the Diocese of Novaliches on December 7, 2002 by virtue of the Apostolic Constitution ''Animarum Utilitati'' and appointed Bacani as its first residential bishop. This news was announced by Cardinal Sin during a conference of the clergy and lay leaders held at Villa San Miguel in Mandaluyong. The decree also declared that the episcopal seat of the new Diocese would be the Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd along Regalado Avenue, Fairview, Quezon City. The episcopal seat serves as the residence of the Bishop and the center of all activities in the Diocese. In solemn rites held at the Good Shepherd Parish-Shrine on January 16, 2003, the new Diocese of Novaliches was canonically erected, with the Most Reverend Teodoro C. Bacani, D.D. being installed as its first bishop, coinciding his 63rd birthday. He named Father Gerardo Giovanni Tapiador as the diocese's first Vicar-General, Fr. Fr. Jaime Lara as Chancellor, and Fr. James Gaa as Oeconomus or treasurer. Bishop Bacani led the beginnings of the pastoral commissions or ministries in the diocese through the involvement of active lay members of the Council of the Laity of Novaliches (CLaN), which he created on March 21, 2003. These lay leaders represented the different sectors of the Church active since the time of the Ecclesiastical District of Quezon City-North. On May 8, 2003, Bishop Bacani left a legacy of establishing the first parish under the new diocese - Santa Krus Parish in Bagumbong, Caloocan. However, Bishop Bacani resigned in June 2003. San Fernando, La Union Bishop Antonio Tobias, who served as Apostolic Administrator in Bacani's absence from June to November of that year, was named second bishop of Novaliches. He was installed at the Good Shepherd Cathedral on January 26, 2004 in the presence of Cardinal Sin, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Franco, and Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales. Bishop Tobias convened the first Diocesan Pastoral Assembly on March 11–12, 2005, during which the Diocesan Pastoral Thrust, Direction, and Vision-Mission Statement were designed along with the Diocesan Hymn and Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) Guidelines. From having 50 pioneer parishes in 2003 (with Santa Krus Parish in Bagumbong being the first to be established under the new diocese - by decree of Bishop Teodoro Bacani), the diocese has now 70 full-fledged parishes and 1 mission area.


Bishops




First Bishop (2003)

The MOST REVEREND TEODORO CRUZ BACANI JR., D.D., S.Th.D was born in Tuyo, Balanga City, Bataan on January 16, 1940. He obtained his philosophy and theology studies at San Jose Seminary. On December 21, 1965, he was ordained priest of the Prelature of Iba (now, a full-fledged diocese) at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila. In 1971, he obtained his Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. He served as Parochial Vicar of Holy Infant Jesus Parish in San Antonio, Zambales (1966-1968) and San Sebastian Parish in San Narciso, Zambales (1971-1976). From 1976 to 1979, he was Parish Priest of Saint James Parish and Director of Saint James School in Subic, Zambales. From 1979 to 1984, Father Bacani was an on-loan priest in Manila as a Theology Professor in San Carlos Seminary (where he served as Dean of Theology, 1982-1983) and in Loyola School of Theology-Ateneo de Manila University, as well as a theological consultant in the Archdiocese of Manila. Pope John Paul II named him Auxiliary Bishop of Manila and Titular Bishop of Gauriana on March 6, 1984, and was ordained bishop on April 12, 1984. He served as Parish Priest of San Fernando De Dilao Parish in Paco, Manila from 1984 to 1996. He was named District Bishop of the Ecclesiastical District of Manila in 1985, and District Bishop of Quezon City-North and Kalookan in 1996. With the creation of the Diocese of Novaliches on December 7, 2002, he was named its first bishop and was formally installed on January 16, 2003, but later resigned in November 25 of that year.

Second Bishop (2004-2019)

The MOST REV. ANTONIO REALUBIN TOBIAS, D.D., J.C.L was born in Manila on June 13, 1941. He completed secondary studies at Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary in Guadalupe, Makati. He finished his philosophy and theology studies at San Carlos Seminary in Guadalupe, Makati. On December 21, 1965, he was ordained priest of the Archdiocese of Manila at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila. Moreover, he holds a Licentiate in Canon Law from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. From 1966 to 1970, he served as Parochial Vicar of San Juan Nepomuceno Parish in Malibay, Pasay. From 1970 to 1982, he was assigned formator at Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary, where he also served as its rector from 1974 to 1982. In 1974, he was invested Monsignor with the title of Papal Chaplain. Few months after he was assigned as Parish Priest of Christ the King Parish in Greenmeadows, Quezon City, on October 28, 1982, he was named by Pope John Paul II as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga and Titular Bishop of Tipasa in Numidia (in present-day Algeria). He was ordained bishop on January 25, 1983 at the Manila Cathedral. From 1984 to 1993, he was Bishop of Pagadian (Zamboanga del Sur). From 1993 to 2003, he was Bishop of San Fernando (La Union). Concurrent to his assignment in La Union, he was named Apostolic Administrator of Novaliches in June 2003. Pope John Paul II named him the Second Bishop of Novaliches on November 25, 2003, and was formally installed on January 26, 2004, at the Archdiocesan Shrine and Cathedral-Parish of the Good Shepherd. While serving as local ordinary of Novaliches, he concurrently served as Parish Priest of the cathedral (2011-2012) and Visitation of Our Lady Parish, Pasong Putik, Quezon City (2016). He teaches Canon Law at the Saint Vincent School of Theology in Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

Third Bishop (2019-present)

The MOST REV. ROBERTO ORENDAIN GAA, D.D. was born in Manila on October 4, 1962. He finished his elementary and secondary studies at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1980 and took college at the University of the Philippines-Diliman and obtained his degree BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1985. From 1985 to 1995 he worked at different companies such as Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Philippine Retirement Authority, Johnson and Johnson Philippines, and San Miguel Corporation as a mechanical engineer. On 1995, he entered the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary and finished his theology studies at San Carlos Graduate School of Theology on 2000. He was ordained priest on September 23, 2000 at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila for the Archdiocese of Manila. Fr. Gaa then obtained his Licentiate in Spirituality on 2005 at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. As a priest, he was assigned at different parishes as Parochial Vicar: from December 2000 to February 2001 at Saint John the Baptist Parish (Quiapo, Manila), from February 2001 to April 2001 at Immaculate Conception Parish (Cubao, Quezon City), from April 2001 to June 2001 at Presentation of the Child Jesus Parish (BF Homes, Parañaque City), and from June 2001 to August 2001 at Saint Anthony of Padua Parish (Singalong, Manila). From 2001 to 2002, he was appointed Parish Priest of Holy Spirit Parish in Tala, Caloocan. Then on 2002, he was appointed as the Acting Dean of Studies of the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary (HASS) IN Guadalupe, Makati. It is in HASS where he spent most of his time from 2002 to 2019, as a priest handling different offices, from being a Spiritual Director (2002-2012), Vice-Rector (2005-2008), Dean of Seminarians (2005-2012), Rector (2008-2019) and Dean of Studies (2002-2019). On June 6, 2019, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias as Bishop of Novaliches and appointed Rev. Fr. Roberto O. Gaa as his successor. On August 22, 2019 (Memorial of the Queenship of Mary), he was ordained and consecrated as a member of the Sacred Order of Bishops at the Manila Cathedral, by His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle with Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara and Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas as co-consecrators. Bishop Gaa was then canonically installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches on August 24, 2019, on the Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle at the Novaliches Cathedral.

References

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