The history of the Diocese of Urdaneta is closely linked with
that of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, out of which was carved the territory of the new diocese when created on January 12, 1985. The diocese covers 17 municipalities on
the eastern part of the civil province of Pangasinan, a land area of 1,616 square kilometers and a population of 625,855 of which 85 per cent are Catholics. Its titular patroness is Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.
The Augustinian were the first to begin the work of Christianization in Pangasinan as early as 1575. They came with the expedition that was sent to crush the Chinese pirate Limahong who had
retreated to Pangasinan when he failed to capture Manila. They found the people unresponsive, unenthusiastic, so they abandoned the place and moved north. The
Franciscans arrived next, and went through the same disenchantment. Some names crop up here from snatches of history: Fathers Roda and Holgado, both
Augustinians, and Fathers Juan Bautista Pisarro and Sebastian de Boeza, both Franciscans.
The Dominicans came and were the most successful at evangelization, and they
stayed until the Philippine Revolution at the turn of the century. They succeeded in founding the towns of Binmaley, Calasiao, Santa Barbara and San Fabian. While this
was taking place on the eastern part of the province, the Augustinians were finally succeeding in evangelizing the western portion which now comprises the Diocese of Alaminos.
Later the Dominicans founded other towns on the eastern portion including Binalatongan, now San Carlos City, the biggest town in Pangasinan; then Asingan in
1698, Villasis in 1763, Binalonan in 1841, rosales in 1853, Urdaneta in 1863, Pozorrubio in 1879 and Sison in 1896.
The Dioceses of Urdaneta and Alaminos were once part of the then Diocese of
Lingayen. The Diocese of Lingayen was erected in 1928 and had jurisdiction over the whole province of Pangasinan, 11 towns of Tarlac, 10 towns of Nueva Ecija and 3
towns of Zambales. The Most Reverend Cesar Ma. Guerrero was its first bishop.
The mother diocese was transferred to Dagupan in 1954 due to damage wrought by World War II on Lingayen, hence the name Lingayen-Dagupan.
In 1963 the Diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan was elevated to an archdiocese. When the Diocese of Urdaneta and Alaminos were created in 1985, they became suffragan
dioceses of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan; and the towns of Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Zambales which belonged to Lingayen-Dagupan were returned to their respective civil provinces.
On April 22, 1985,
L'Osservatore Romano announced the appointment of Most Reverend Pedro G. Magugat, MSC, until then Military Vicar of the Philippines, as the First Resident Bishop of the newly constituted Diocese of Urdaneta. He took
possession of this jurisdiction on June 29, 1990 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Urdaneta, which became the diocesan see. Upon his
untimely death, the Holy See appointed the Most Reverend Jesus C. Galang as the Second Resident Bishop of Urdaneta on December 7, 1991.
For the clergy this means management skills, spiritual renewal, theological updating, social awareness, community building and psycho-sexual development. This
program for the clergy, held once a month to this day, has brought about a basic ecclesial community of the clergy.
Lay leaders, on the other hand, undergo special training in the different areas of their
apostolates, and undergo formation programs at the John Paul I Biblical Institute. These BEC seminars for the clergy and the laity are held regularly.
At the beginning of the year 1995, a
Renewal and Revitalization Program was launched, coinciding with the 10th founding anniversary of the Diocese of Urdaneta.