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Diocese of Zamboanga
Philippine Islands. It includes the islands of Basilan, Camiguin, Dinagat, Mindanao, Siargao, and the Sulu Archipelago. The area of the diocese is 39,000 sq. miles, the population about 670,000. Mindanao, the second largest of the Philippine group, has an area of 36,292 sq. miles. The Catholic population of the diocese is 290,000. There are 300,000 Moros or Mohammedan Malays and 80,000 pagans of various tribes. Mindanao was evangelized at the end of the sixteenth century by the Jesuits and the Recollects Members of both these religious orders met their death at the hands of the fanatical Moros. When the Jesuits were permitted to re-enter the country, they again devoted themselves to the missions of Mindanao. Their labours among the savage tribes and even among the Moros were crowned with wonderful success (cf. article PHILIPPINE ISLANDS). The establishments they conducted at Tamontaxa for the abandoned children of the Moros resembled somewhat the famous Jesuit Reductions of Paraguay. As the Spanish Government supported the priests and their missions (finding this the most economical, as well as the most humane, way of civilizing the island), the evangelization of Mindanao met with a great setback when the Philippines were ceded to the United States. Many of the Jesuit missionaries had to be recalled from Mindanao, and a number of their mission-posts were abandoned. At present there are sixty mission parishes in the diocese and forty-five priests, most of them members of the Society of Jesus. The Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has charge of Surigato Province, in the northeastern part of Mindanao. Native nuns of the Society of Mary conduct schools in some of the larger towns. Zamboanga, the residence of the bishop, has a population of 24,000. The territory comprising the Diocese of Zamboanga was formerly attached to the Dioceses of Cebu and of Boilo. Pius X erected the new diocese by the Bull "Novas erigere dioceses", 10 Apr., 1910. The Right Rev. Michael O'Doherty, D.D., rector of the Irish College of Salamanca, was consecrated its first bishop.
Philip M. Finegan.