Pope Elevates New Diocese in Mindanao

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

MANILA, May 1, 2010-The Vatican has officially erected the Philippines' 58th Catholic diocese on Saturday.

Pope Benedict XVI elevated the Prelature of Ipil to a full diocese, in Zamboanga Sibugay, and appointed as its first bishop, Julius Tonel, until now Bishop-Prelate of the same jurisdiction.

According to Saturday's communiqué from the Philippine nunciature, the news was officially announced in Rome at 12:00 noon today (6:00 p.m. local time.)

Ipil, a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, is the 11th diocese in Mindanao. It has a population of nearly 600, 000 of which 65 percent are Catholics.

It also occupies an area of 4,850 square kilometers extending from the boundary of Zamboanga del Norte on the north to Olutanga Island on the south, from the town of Tungawan on the west to the town Margosatubig on the east boundaries.

The diocese-erect also has 19 parishes, 32 priests and 31 religious sisters.

To date, the country now has a total of 16 archdioceses, 58 dioceses, 7 apostolic vicariates, 4 territorial prelatures and one military ordinariate. (CBCPNews)