Two Lectures on the History of the Catholic Church in Zamboanga
A lecture featuring the history of the Catholic Church in Zamboanga within the Diocesan Period was held last October 8 at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, La Purisima Campus. Ma. Christina A. Cañones, a history teacher of the School of Liberal Arts of AdZU, presented a timeline of important events and developments, as well as a rare collection of pictures of Zamboanga parishes and its long line of bishops. Ms. Cañones is a member of the History/Research Committee chaired by Fr. Tony F. Moreno, SJ, a team commissioned by the Zamboanga Archdiocese to do research for its Golden and Centennial Anniversaries. The said lecture is the second in a series, the first of which was presented by Prof. Hermenegildo P. Malcampo, a local historian, who discussed the Pre-Diocesan Period of the Zamboanga Church, tracing its beginnings to as early as 1585. His lecture was held last September 18 at the Carlos Dominguez Conference Hall, AdZU.
Prof. Malcampo highlighted the first Christian mission as established in La Caldera (now Recodo) and the major evangelization of the Zamboanga Peninsula in 1635 with the construction of Fort Pilar in Cagang-Cagang (now Rio Hondo and part of Zone IV). Another highlight was the Jesuit and Recollect missionary martyrs who gave their lives in the name of the faith. The first few parishes were also mentioned as they were established before the 1900s: Tetuan Parish on November 25, 1862; Ayala Parish on January 21, 1871; Mercedes Parish on September 24, 1876; and Sta. Maria Parish on June 28, 1890.
In the recent lecture, Ms. Cañones started off with a transition from the first lecture, followed by a discussion of the major turn of events when the Zamboanga Church became a Diocese under the leadership of Bishop Luis del Rosario, SJ. She also discussed important events and narrated a few anecdotal information occurring before and after World War II, emphasizing that many of the parishes were destroyed and rebuilt by the determined leaders of the local church, thereby sustaining and strengthening the Catholic faith. A lively discussion with the participants followed. Close to a hundred participants from the academe, the local clergy, religious organizations, and the lay attended the lecture. No less than Archbishop Romulo G. Valles D.D. graced the occasion.
The lecture series will be capped with a third lecture on the Archdiocesan Period on November 17, 2008 at 2:00-4:30 in the afternoon at the Carlos Dominguez Conference Hall. A joint exhibit with the Archdiocese of Zamboanga follows immediately after the third lecture at The Gallery of the Peninsula and the Archipelago. The exhibit will feature the entire collection of photos, memorabilia from past bishops, as well as artifacts collected and preserved throughout the history of the Church of Zamboanga. Two featured lectures on Marian devotion and church registers as sources of church history are also scheduled on December 3 from 2:00-4:30 PM at the GPA.
The entire project dubbed as La Parroquia: A History of the Catholic Church in Zamboanga, 1635 - Present aims to gather the Catholic faithful in a moment of remembrance with gratitude for the past, and together renew the missionary spirit.