Diocese of Lucena
While history books claim that the Spanish explored what
is now Quezon Province in 1571 and called it Kalilaya (later renamed Tayabas), a manuscript in the archives of Pastrana, Spain says that the Christian faith was brought
to the province of Quezon in the Philippines in 1858 by two intrepid Franciscan friars: Fray Juan de Plasencia and Fray Diego de Oropesa. Many in Quezon believe that these two
friars were the true founders of the towns of Lucban and Tayabas (now Lucena) in Quezon.
In later years other Franciscan Missionaries came and preached the Gospel in the
towns of Mauban, Sariaya, Gumaca and others. From all indications it appears that the Franciscans built and organized the localities that make up Quezon
Province, leaving their footprints in its cultural and religious life.
Historically the province is known as the place where General Miguel Malvar, a
Filipino rebel during the Philippine-American War, made his base of operations. He was the last Filipino general to surrender to American forces at the turn of the
century. Civil government by the Americans was finally established in 1901.
Quezon Province, including its subprovince of Aurora in the north, has a shoreline
that stretches along the eastern seaboard of Luzon from Isabela in the north, to the western end of the Bicol Peninsula in the south. In September of 1946 the old
name of the province, Tayabas, was changed to Quezon, in honor of the first president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, President Manuel L. Quezon,
with Lucena as its capital. 98 per cent of the people in the province speak Tagalog.
Tayabas in the past fell under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Nueva Caceres.
Because of distance and a fast-growing population (it has the highest growth rate in the country), Tayabas came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Lipa in 1910.
Monsignor Alfredo Verzosa, then Bishop of Lipa, signalled the coming of a new day for the province when he built a minor seminary in the town of Tayabas, now
Lucena, in 1942, placing it under the protection of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. The Bishop had strong faith and foresight. That seminary was to be the
keystone in the building of a diocese, which finally took place on March 28, 1950.
On that day the papal bull was read before a huge crowd that gathered in the
cathedral of Lucena. By virtue of this announcement, the territories of Quezon, excluding Infanta and neighboring towns, and Marinduque formed the new Diocese
of Lucena. The miraculous image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage of Antipolo was beautifully enthroned in the presbytery of the Lucena Cathedral.
Witnessing the historical event then were Most Reverend Rufino J. Santos, proclaimed Apostolic Administrator of the new diocese, and Most Reverend
Alfredo M. Obviar, Auxiliary Bishop of Lipa. About 40 priests attended the ceremony.
Today the Diocese of Lucena comprises the central towns of Quezon Province,
with St. Ferdinand, the King, as its titular patron. It is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Lipa. Administering its 31 parishes are 81 priests. Among the
Catholic institutions are 2 seminaries, 3 pastoral centers, 19 Catholic schools, 1 diocesan hospital, 1 printing press, 1 radio station, and 1 diocesan newspaper. There are about 20 or more BEC's to each parish.
Most Rev. Ruben T. Profugo, D.D., STL
Ordained priest: December 18, 1965
Ordained bishop: October 18, 1979
Appointed Bishop of Lucena: May 15, 1982
Most Rev. Emilio Z. Marquez, D.D.
Ordained priest: June 6, 1964
Ordained bishop: January 29, 1985
Appointed Co-Adjutor Bishop of Lucena: 2002