Archdiocese of Cebu
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In a land area of 5,088.4 square kilometers, the Archdiocese of Cebu covers the whole civil province of Cebu. This province island lies at the heart of the Central Philippines called the Visayas region. In the history of Christian evangelization, it prides itself as the Cradle of Christianity in the Far East because it is here that the first European explorers, headed by the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan, sailing under the auspices of the kingdom of Spain in 1521, established their first settlement and introduced Christianity.

It is located to the east of Negros island; to the west of Leyte, and Bohol islands. It is situated on both sides by the straits of Bohol (between Cebu, and Bohol), and Tañon (between Cebu, and Negros). Cebu is located between 9°25'N and 11°15'N latitude, and between 123°13'E, and 124°5'E longitude in the center of the Philippine Islands.

Cebu is a long narrow island stretching 225 kilometers (140 miles) from north to south, surrounded by 167 neighboring smaller islands, that includes Mactan Island, Bantayan, Malapascua, Olango, and the Camotes Islands.

Like the rest of tropical Philippines, Cebu has basically two seasons, hot or dry (summer) from March to May, and rainy or wet season from June to February. Cebu's tropical climate is tempered by the breezes that blow over the island from the Pacific Ocean. The temperature range over the year is from 26°C to 38°C. At night, temperatures to as low as 18°C during the cooler months. But in the heat of summer temperatures can reach 38°C to 40°C.

Cebu City
Its capital is Cebu City, the oldest city in the Philippine Islands, which forms part of the Cebu Metropolitan Area together with four neighboring cities (Danao City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, and Talisay City) and eight other municipalities.

Cebu City is also the seat of the archdiocese where the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is, as well as the other ecclesiatical institutions and centers like the Archbishop's Residence, the archdiocesan pastoral center called the Patria de Cebu, and Cebu Caritas with several offices there being housed, and the diocesan seminaries.

Cebu City is also the seat of the archdiocese where the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is, as well as the other ecclesiatical institutions and centers like the Archbishop's Residence, the archdiocesan pastoral center called the Patria de Cebu, and Cebu Caritas with several offices there being housed, and the diocesan seminaries.

Language

The lingua franca in Cebu is the Cebuano language, which is the most widely spoken language among the Visayan languages. Other languages spoken are Tagalog, which is the base language of Pilipino, the national language. English is also widely spoken, and is the medium of instruction in schools and used in business transactions and government official communications.

Economy

Festivals
Cebu City is also home to historical landmarks that stand witness to the beginnings of Christianity in the Far East. For one, it has the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño which houses the oldest Christian icon in the Philippines, the image of the Señor Sto. Niño (the Holy Child), which was brought by Magellan in 1521, and since considered the Lord and Protector of Cebu. The feast of Sto. Niño, which falls on the third Sunday of January, is one of the biggest celebrations in the country, with two dual festivities held together, the religious one traditionally called the Fiesta Señor, and the civic festival called the Sinulog.

Sightseeing
Aside from the basilica, there is the Fort San Pedro, the Spanish quarters established by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565, and the kiosk of Magellan's Cross, erected in 1866 fronting the Cebu City Hall, to mark the spot where Magellan landed in Cebu 1521.

Commerce
Cebu is one of the premier provinces in the Philippines, and the main center of commerce, trade, education, and industry in the central, and southern parts of the islands. It has five-star hotels, casinos, white sand beaches, world-class golf courses, convention centers, and shopping malls. Its capital, Cebu City, is called the Queen City of the South.

Religion

  • A steady rise in the number of religious communities established in Cebu has been noted in the past years. Right now there are already six monasteries of cloistered women although there are no independent men's monasteries.

    These are:
  • Discalced Nuns of the Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel ~ OCD
  • Order of St. Clare ~ OSC
  • Augustinian Contemplatives ~ OSA
  • Sisters of the Cross of the Good Shepherd ~ SCGS
  • Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration ~ SSPS-PA
  • Order of the Most Holy Redeemer ~ OSsR

    Aside from these there are twenty-one (21) Men's Religious Orders and Congregations of Papal Right some of which have been in Cebu for centuries and decades already. In fact the two Catholic Universities in Cebu are run by religious congregations: University of San Carlos (which also celebrates its Fourth Centenary as an educational institution) by the Society of the Divine Word and University of San Jose Recoletos by the Order of Agustinian Recollects. On the other hand the Basilica del Santo Niño is under the care of the Agustinian Fathers while the Major Seminary is under the administration of the Vincentian Fathers although a gradual take-over of the diocesan clergy is already taking place.

    On the distaff side, there are 37 Women's Congregations of Papal Right working in the different endeavors of the Church. The Archdiocese of Cebu is also home to three Women's Congregation of Diocesan Right namely:
  • The Daughters of Saint Teresa (DST) who dedicate themselves to catechetics and Catholic education
  • The Siervas de la Virgen de la Paz (SNSP), founded by a layman, dedicated to catechetics.
  • Church

    After thirty-three years of sterling service to the Archdiocese of Cebu as Archbishop, Julio Cardinal Rosales, in 1983, turned over to his successor, Archbishop Ricardo J. Vidal, a local church that saw itself rising from the rubble of the Second World War to its present vibrance and on the side hosting, among the other memorable and historic occasions, the 1965 National Celebration of the Fourth Centennial of the Evangelization of the Philippines and Pope John Paul II's visit in 1981.

    In August of 1983 the low-key and unassuming Msgr. Vidal found himself in the shoes of the larger-than-life Cardinal Rosales and assumed pastoral administration of over a million faithful in this heartland of the Visayan Islands. With vital structures and infrastructures already put in place (like the seminaries, the Archbishop's Palace, Patria de Cebu and Caritas buildings, the restored Metropolitan Cathedral and multifarious parishes established, to cite some), the new Archbishop set his own course of action and steered the Archdiocese to a new direction.

    Owing to his vast experience as formator (he spent most of his priestly ministry as seminary formator culminating in the rectorship of a regional major seminary in Luzon) then Msgr. Vidal, who was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1985, stamped his mark on the Archdiocese by giving stress on formation. Reflective of his character, he did not instigate shocking reforms. Instead, he introduced gradual but trenchant changes culminating in the convocation of the Fourth Diocesan Synod of Cebu in 1985-86. Since then the thrust of the local church took a definitive shift.

    One of his first major acts not long after he took office was the reorganization of the diocesan structure into different episcopal districts to ensure closer coordination and interaction between and among priests. Under the care of an auxili