Get Adobe Flash player
ICTHUS Song

Archive for November 21, 2014

WE HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT! Pastoral Message on the Occasion of the Four Hundredth Year of Dagupan under the Patronage of Saint John the Evangelist

To be read as homily in all the Masses on November 30, 2014, First Sunday of Advent, in all the parish churches, pastoral stations and chapels in Dagupan City

WE HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT!

Pastoral Message on the Occasion of the Four Hundredth Year of Dagupan under the  Patronage of Saint John the Evangelist

My dear people of God in the City of Dagupan:

It has been four hundred years since Dagupan was placed under the patronage of Saint John the Evangelist. This year 2014 is a historic jubilee year for Dagupan as much as for the whole archdiocese.

History

Bagnotan was the old name of Dagupan. It was established as a visita by the Augustinian friars in the year 1590. In 1613, the Augustinians passed on the spiritual care of Bagnotan to the Dominicans who formally accepted it as a domus in the Dominican Chapter of 1614 under the patronage of Saint John the Evangelist.

The Augustinian accounts do not state the patronage of Bagnotan in 1590. The first time San Juan Evangelista de Bagnotan appears is in the Dominican Chapter of 1614. As a domus in 1614, Bagnotan was still dependent on Calasiao. From being a simple domus of the Dominican Fathers in the year 1614, Dagupan, the land of criss-crossing rivers, is now the seat of the Metropolitan See of Lingayen Dagupan.

Washed away by floods and shaken by earthquakes; burned by revolutionaries and razed by war, Dagupan stands like a living proof of the fidelity of the Lord who promised His people “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

Our Patron

Through four centuries, Saint John the Evangelist has constantly covered Dagupan with his holy guidance and steadfast intercession. John the Apostle was the younger brother of James another apostle. Their parents were Zebedee and Salome.  James and John were fishermen like their father called by the Lord to follow Him while they were mending their nets by the Lake Genesareth.

Call to be Saints

Although Dagupan through the years has become the hub of business and industry in Pangasinan, our city is still known by our Dagupan bangus and our best industry is still fishing. As a fishing community, we are called like Saint John our patron to follow Him, no longer by abandoning our nets but this time by using our nets to become saints.

We can write the Gospel not with pen on paper but through fidelity of life and courageous witnessing in the midst of society. We can be saints from the river and the fish market by keeping in mind that the fruits of our rivers are not ours to devour but to care for and nurture so that future generations may enjoy them even more. We can become saints as we invest in the packaging and marketing of bangus by allowing the tenets of social justice and business ethics to prevail in all our transactions. We can become saints like John the fisherman by keeping our rivers clean and free from pollution as responsible stewards of God’s creation. Saint John is not just a patron who prays for us; he is also a model who can help us become saints.

Saints Among Us

Within the past century, Dagupan has been blessed too with two men of God, former pastors in Dagupan, who are now raised among the beatos of the Catholic Church—Blessed Jose Garcia Diaz and Beato Candido Fernandez Garcia. Both served in Dagupan and were martyred in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War persecution. They ministered in Dagupan as teachers in the Colegio de San Alberto Magno in Calmay which was closed in 1934.

Beato Jose Garcia Diaz and Beato Candido Fernandez Garcia did not use fishing nets to catch fish but they used their golden tongues and sterling lives to win souls for the Lord.

The Lights Keeps Shining

The four hundredth year of Dagupan under the patronage of Saint John the Evangelist beckons us to follow the path of the saints because indeed that is who we are. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (I Peter 2:9). To the men and women unknown by God and but surely resting in the memory of God, we offer our praise and reverence and love.

The people who walked in darkness, Have seen a great light We who lived in the land of gloom A new light has dawned…. We were that people long ago. Flashes of lightning guided us in the dark. Peals of loud thunder always left us in fright. Then we heard another thunder, a different kind of thunder. A voice unfamiliar Yet soothing to the soul… “We are His beloved,” the voice said. “We are His chosen ones,” the voice assured. Then we saw a different lightning, a sudden flash of light that chose to stay with us, a light so unlike the rest. Light has dawned on us. Light has embraced us. Never will His glory ever dim in our land. Our faith is surging forth. Our love is bursting out. Our hope is burning bright. The Light has made us lights. We are ready to share the LIGHT… For generations to come…Unto eternity… LET Him shine in Dagupan unto the whole world. Amen….!

 

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, November 30, 2014

 

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

wordpress statistics