Historically, Pangasinan figures prominently as the battleground for many wars in the country. Lingayen Gulf was the headquarters of the Chinese pirate Limahong who came even ahead of the Spanish forces. In World War 11 General Douglas MacArthur landed in Lingayen to resume military operations against Japan. Andres Malong, a Filipino officer commissioned with the Spanish forces, led the first revolt of the province in 1660.The Augustinian were the first missionaries to arrive in Pangasinan. But they found the people unresponsive, addicted to idolatry and the so-called Anitos. Unable to make much headway, they proceeded north to the Ilocos provinces, but not before having founded the big towns of Lingayen, Dagupan and Manaoag. Some secular priests and some Franciscans are also recorded as among the first missionaries of Pangasinan. But like the Augustinian, they also went north abandoning the socalled barren and unfruitful land.
The Dominicans were the most successful missionaries in Pangasinan and they stayed until the Revolution of 1898. As early as 1587, they established the town of Binalatongan, now San Carlos City. Other big towns they founded are Calasiao, Binmaley, Santa Barbara and San Fabian. Meanwhile the Augustinian Recollects evangelized the western part of the province which is now the territory of the Diocese of Alarninos.
The Diocese of Lingayen was erected on May 19, 1928, comprising the entire province of Pangasinan. In 1954, because of the destruction brought on Lingayen by World War 11, the See was transferred to Dagupan, and the diocese is now known as the Diocese of Lingayen Dagupan. On January 12,1985 the western part of Pangasinan was made the Diocese of Alaminos, and the eastern part the Diocese of Urdaneta, both dioceses becoming suffragans of Lingayen-Dagupan along with the dioceses of Cabanatuan, San Jose (Nueva Ecija) and San Fernando (La union). in 1963 the diocese was elevated to an archdiocese.
There are 26 parishes in the archdiocese served by 106 priests, 12 religious brothers and 33 religious sisters. Catholic institutions include 2 seminaries, I major and I minor, 27 Catholic schools, a hospital, 2 clinics, a formation center, a social action center, and a catechetical center. Faith Communities number 24 in all.
Pastoral activities are concentrated on worship, catholic education, Youth apostolate, social action and pastoral work with the family. A noteworthy innovation is the attention given to worship. The archdiocese is achieving progress in making the liturgy the framework of worship. Devotions remain popular, but adequate success has been achieved to integrate these with liturgy Thus, devotions to saints, who are local favorites, have. been weaned off the novena syndrome and integrated with the celebration of the Mass.
On social action, Archbishop Oscar V Cruz established the Caritas Dagupan, the primary objective. of which is to help the poor of Christ help themselves through livelihood and health projects. The Archdiocesan Commission on social Action and Allied Services initiates programs that encourage. entrepreneurship among the rural communities The Commission grants financial assistance to rural folks so they can put up small scale industries, or organize cooperatives to eventually improve their standard of living.
Since Archbishop Cruz assumed office, one of his main preoccupations has been the formulation of an Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan. After n’iuch reflection arid deliberation, the Plan was finally finished. The Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan is based on the integrated advisory observations made by the clergy and the laity who had been constantly consulted by the Archbishop on the matter.
The plan is on a short term basis of three years, after which evaluations are made, necessary adjustments adopted, and then the renewed Pastoral Plan is launched for another three years. Subsequently the plan will go through the same evaluation, adoptive, and renewal processes.
The plan itself starts with the situation of broken and sinful unbelievers, ignorant and indifferent, notwithstanding the call to be healed. to be whole, to be holy, to be believers. The vision is the Living Body of Christ through witnessing, worshipping, serving and evangelizing community. And mission is renewed and intensive evangelization, renewed and intense living of gospel values; development of the spirit, charisms and capabilities of the Presbyteriun-1; promotion, encouragement and maximization of the ecclesial participation of the laity in line with the above, programs have, been devised to particularize the mission component of the Plan. In particular these programs involve the clergy, the laity and the community apostates.
Most Rev. Oscar V. Cruz, D.D., Ph.L.. S.T.D., J.C.D.
Ordained priest: February 10, 1962
Ordained bishop: May 3, 1976
Appointed Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan: July 15, 1991