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[archbishops of caceres]

Community prayers especially the Rosary during processions led by a prayer leader in a car with loud speakers are a part of the religious tradition. As of today, there are processions in honor of our Ina, not only during the TRASIACION (by foot from the Cathedral to the Tabuco Bridge, then by water via Bicol River to the Basilica) but also during the Penafrancia week. As early as the 196Os early morning processions are held on the Wednesday and Thursday of the Pefiafrancia week plying different routes of the Naga City streets. Women devotees usually carry the Holy Image during these processions. On the Friday preceding the Saturday Fluvial parade, an all- men procession is held at night spearheaded by the Archdiocesan Adoracion Nocturna Filipina. A moving spectacle of well-dressed Nocturnal Adorers with lighted candles. Sometime in 1976 (or after?) another Penafrancia procession was introduced. In May the Holy Image is carried in procession sponsored by the different Barangays (barrios/villages) to the Naga City Supermarket where it is publicly venerated. Also in May culininating the FLORES DE MAYO devotions, a procession participated in by different REYNAS (Queens) headed by "Queen/Reina Elena" proceed to the modern Basilica Shrine for a Solemn Mass in honor of the Virgin of Penafrancia. This last activity also a colorful one was introduced to generate some finances for the construction, now maintainance of the Basilica. In all these activities, two marian songs stand out: RESUENE VIBRANTE composed by Rev. Maximo Juguera, C.M. and first sung during the coronation rites of our Ina during the Penafrancia of 1924 when Msgr. Francisco Reyes (later, Bishop) was the diocesan Administrator. Another song: PAKI-OLAY KI INA (prayer-song to our Mother) composed by Rev. J.B. Esplana on orders of then Archbishops Teopisto V. Alberto was first sung on August 24,1981, Sunday, alter a three-day prayer (Tridium) asking Gods forgiveness for the loss of the miraculous Image, August 17,1981, Monday. These two popular marian songs, RESUENE VIBRANTE and the PAKI-OLAY KI INA have today English and Bicol versions upon request of non-Spanish speaking devotees and also of English speaking people. During Penafrancia novenas, Masses and processions these two songs become a part of the people's devotion. For record purposes, the stolen Image of Our Lady of Penafrancia (August 17,1981) was recovered September 8,1982, a period of one year and twenty-two days, when it was brought to Naga City by car amidst a storm when the Manila route especially along San Fernando and Milaor, Camarines Sur was under water. This did not dampen the waiting devotees that received the recovered Image and carried it by foot procession from Mabolo bridge to the Metropolitan Cathedral where a Thanksgiving Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Alberto who accompanied we are all brothers and sisters propelled and ignited by the same love for Her, the beauty of singing the same songs of love and devotion to the Virgin. Imagine the beauty of being together, because of a Woman we call "Ina," loving one another; serving one another, the beauty of camaraderie and fellowship and not... to each his own. One song says, "Daing si isay man na nabubuhay.. para sa sadiri lamang. Kita gabos may paninimbagab sa lambang saro." Yes, an ideal Penafrancia celebration for all, One Penafrancia Fiesta, all driven by one common purpose: to share and sing "Walang sinumang nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang.. to love one another with Mary as the common Mother as She would want us all to do and to be. Really, "abang gayon kan buhay nyato..........nagsusupay nin karahayan." Indeed, how beautiful! In contrast, how ugly it is if a religious Fiesta turns out to be an event for competition, if it becomes an agent for division, if it becomes more of a social celebration than a religious one, if people of the same Faith, more so of the same race or nationality are so fragmented in thoughts, words and deeds, trying to outdo each other to show or to prove who is the Mother's "favorite", who is the "real devotee" or who has the "real Image" of the Virgin. How ugly it is if there is no humility among the marian devotees to admit and confess that we are all the same in the eyes of God. Any devotional practice without humility is hypocrisy. Humility unites as does love; and Penafrancia is a Love Story. Do we make it so?

Viva La Virgen!
Viva El Divino Rostro!
Viva La Patrona Del Bikol!





Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., D.D.
{1984 to present}

Msgr. Legaspi is the 33rd ordinary and 3rd Archbishop of Caceres. Under his progressive leadership, the ecclesiastical landscape of Caceres has considerably changed over the years.

The Prelature of Libaman was created in 1990, and given its own administration under its first Prelate, Bishop Prospero Arellano.

The Archbishop has created an additional 31 parishes, bringing the total to 62. Most have organized pastoral councils at both parish and barangay levels. He has also supported the construction and renovation of parish churches and physical structures of the archdiocese.

Parish ministries have been organized into Worhsip, Education, Services, Temporalities, Youth - Clergy, Religious and Laity (WESTY-CRL) and given their own centers of formation. This has resulted inincreased participation of the lay faithful in Church affairs and the revitalization of the clergy.

Caceres has become a missionary church. There are 3 Caceres priests in the Prelature of Batanes, 1 in Cabanatuan, 1 in Daet, 1 in the Solomon Islands, 2 in Kingstown and the Grenadines, and 1 at the CBCP in Manila. The Archbishop himself has worked for the Pope on a number of special missions around Asia and around the world. He also served as President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for two terms, from 1987-1991 and, at present, continues as Vice-President for Luzon.


Teopisto V. Alberto

He represented the Archdiocese of Caceres during the Second Session of the Second Vatican Council in Rome in 1963.

He strehnthened catechetical teaching and founded the Daugthers of mary, Mother of the Church Institute.

He continued the improvement of the formation of priests by regionalizing the College Department of the major seminary and establishing the Pre-College Formation Institute.

He spearheaded socila action efforts by organizing a rural congress in 1969-1970, which led to the Bikol River basin Development Program and the declaration by the national government of the Bikol region as a land reform area.

He constructed the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Peñafrancia which was completed in May 22, 1982.


Pedro Paul S. Santos
{1938-1951 as Bishop and 1951-1965 as Archbishop}

He was credited for improving Catholic Education: from 3 schools in all of Bikol in 1938 to 26 elementary schools, 25 high schools, and 6 colleges by 1952.

He improved the formation of priests by establishing a Minor Seminary in Sorsogon and the present Holy Rosary major Seminary campus in Concepcion, Naga City. By 1965, he had ordained 130 priests.

He fostered the growth of parochial organizations - Legion of Mary, Cursillo Movement, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, the Knights of Columbus, the Holy name Society and the Apostleship of Prayer.

He represented the Archdiocese of Caceres during the First Session of the Second Vatican Council in Rome in 1962.








Domingo Collantes, O.P {1788-1808}

On March 7, 1797, he formally established the Seminario Conciliar del Santisimo Rosario, know today as Holy Rosary Seminary and declared a historical landmark in 1988. It has a department each for theology, philiosphy and pre-College. Its high school was phased out from 1987-1991.


Francisco Gainza, O.P. {1862-1879}

He built the ecclesiastical center of Caceres envisioned by Bishop bernardo de la Concepcion, which inlcuded the bishop's residence, the Cathedral and seminary arch structure still standing today,a nd the Colegio-now Universidad de Sta. Isabel. He also secured the support of the Vincentians in the formation of the priests.


Jorge Barlin {1905-1909}

Made Bishop of Caceres by Pope Leo XIII in 1905, he was the first Filipino and Bikol bishop. He ensured the stronghold of the Catholic church aftre the Spaniards left by quelling dissident Filipino clergy and lay sympathizers, whose movement was later know as the Aglipayan schism. During his time, he ws the only Filipino bishop in the Philippines; the rest were all Americans.