About Sumilao and the early Jesuit mission stations
By Fr. Madz Tumbali, SJ
When the Jesuits took over from the Recollects the missions in Tagoloan, Jasaan, and Balingasag in 1877, their area of ministry also included Bukidnon with Sumilao and Linabo as visitas. In 1889, a team of three Jesuits, Frs. Juan Terricabras and Eusebio Barrado and Bro Luis Cardona, began the Sumilao mission and they also built a station in Linabo. In three years, they added Covadonga (Alanib), Montserrat, Sevilla (Mailag), Valencia, Lepanto, and Bellevista. In 1890, Oroquieta (Malaybalay) was reopened as a mission dependent on Sumilao. In 1893, the colonial government granted permission to create a parish in Sevilla and Sumilao. That year, Sumilao was canonically erected a parish under the advocacy of Nuestra Senora del Pilar (see inset photo) and Sevilla, under Nuestra Senora del Carmen. In 1897, the following names of visitas were registered under Sumilao: Tagmalang, Calipayan, Sancanan, Tangculan, Balao, Quilabong, San Juan, Maluco, Impasugong, and Silipon; and under Sevilla: Calasungay, Oroquieta (Malaybalay), Linabo, Bugcaon, Valencia, Covadonga, Montserrat, and Silay. In 1906, Oroquieta was reestablished as a station with a resident community. Its first residential Jesuits were Frs. Juan Martin and Jose Casals and Bro. Sebastian Minguijon. From this mission station would the seat of then Prelature of Malaybalay be erected in 1969.
PARISH CHURCHES OF BUKIDNON
Originally established as Jesuit mission stations
Source: Diocese of Malaybalay website
Bagontas – Inahan sa Kanunay’ng Panabang Parish
The Bagontas church started out as a modest chapel, built in the late 50’s by the Italian Jesuit, Fr. Ferrucio Leoni. A group of devoted Catholics constituted as its original parish members and supported all chapel activities even as Fr. Leoni could only celebrate masses once a month. Fr. Leoni was succeeded by Fr. Giuseppi Venere and Fr. Manlio Carroceli, who were also Italian Jesuit missionaries, then followed by Filipino diocesan priests.
Baungon – San Isidro Labrador Parish
The parish was established in 1953. However, the baptismal and marriage registry books started only in December 21, 1958 bearing the signature of Fr. Gregory Horgan SJ, the first parish priest. The first Jesuit missionaries had Christianized the native population as early as 1926. The first lumad to be converted to the faith and consequently baptized with his family was Datu Cipriano Lilangan.
Buda – San Vicente Ferrer Parish
The parish was a part of San Isidro Labrador Parish in Kiburiao, Quezon, its mother parish for two decades. The vision of making San Vicente Ferrer Chapel a distinct ecclesiastical district dated back to the early eighties – this was to remember and to give credit to the noble work of Fr. James Cawley SJ who spread the Good News in the early seventies, the great missionary of Bukidnon.
Cabadiangan – San Miguel Archangel Parish
The first parish priest was Fr. John F. Krebs SJ and his assistant was Fr. Matthew Fullam SJ. Paul Alicante was the first head of the chapel.
Cabanglasan – Sto. Niño Parish
The parish and church of Señor Santo was formerly a small chapel belonging to the church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Poblacion under Fr. Ferruccio Leoni SJ. As an Italian missionary, he previously established the parishes in Jasaan in Misamis Oriental, San Agustin Parish in Valencia City, San Andres Parish in Maramag, Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Quezon and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Poblacion.
Dagumbaan – Our Lady of Fatima Parish
Established in 1956 as a chapel. Fr. Honesto Pacana SJ served the chapel (1977-1979). Fr. James Cawley SJ arrived in Dagumbaan and established the Our Lady of Fatima Parish (1980-1986). He also built the Parish convent and the Our Lady of Fatima High School in 1981.
Damulog – Sto. Rosario Parish
The Sto. Rosario Church was just a chapel, part of the Immaculate Conception parish of Kibawe under Fr. Sergio Cerutti SJ. It was proclaimed a parish on November 1965 and Fr. Robert Cunningham SJ, was appointed the first parish priest. He also founded a Catholic School, the Xavier De Damulog High School. Fr. Leo Welch SJ served as the acting parish priest from July to October 1969 when Fr. Cunningham left for the US for vacation. Upon his return, he continued to serve up to February 1974. This time was critical as the peace and order situation was deteriorating. There was a bloody conflict between Christians and Muslims. Xavier de Damulog High School served as shelter for evacuees from barrios of Cotabato. After Fr. Cunningham, there was a succession of parish priests who served St. Rosario Parish, including Fr. Matthew Fullam, S.J. (June 1979 to April 1989).
Dangcagan – Sto. Niño Parish
In 1947, seven devout Dumagat families organized themselves and built a chapel for their communal prayers. The chapel was made of lakap and roofed with cogon. They agreed to have the Holy Child as their patron saint. In 1952, Fr. Joseph Bittner SJ arrived. The local inhabitants who had already increased in number helped the missionary build a convent. In 1953, the building of the church started. After finishing the framework, photos were taken and sent to USA for funding. Generous donors responded and sent funding for the completion of the church. The people of Dangcagan were grateful the construction of their church was made possible through the efforts and sacrifices of Fr. Bittner. In 1958, he also founded the Santo Niño High School. He stayed on in Dangcagan until 1966. He was replaced by the following Jesuits: Fr. George Kirchgessner, Fr. Leo Welch, Fr. Jose Bacatan, Fr. John Krebs, Fr. Raymond Miller, Fr. Joseph Pawolo; then, followed by diocesan priests.
Don Carlos – Sto. Niño Parish
In April 1959, Fr. Giuseppe Venere SJ, an Italian Jesuit, was transferred from Tagoloan in Misamis to Don Carlos, then a barrio of Maramag. He constructed the church and then founded Loyola High School in February 1962. In 1967, Fr. Francis Webster SJ served as next parish priest for one and a half years and followed by Fr. Camilo Balansag SJ.
Impasug-ong – Immaculate Conception Parish
Impasug-ong was founded as a parish in 1830 making it the oldest parish in the diocese. It was established first as a mission station. Prior to the war, priests from the nearby parish of Sumilao, Fr. Lynch of Malaybalay and Fr. Reilley came to serve the pastoral needs of Impasug-ong. Fr. Fenton Fitzpatrick was the first parish priest. In 1956, Fr. Vincent Cullen also came to help Fr. Fenton attend to pastoral needs of the parish. Thus started the 25-year missionary apostolate to the Higaonons of the hinterlands of Impasug-ong and Kalabugao. Fr. Edward van Groenedael followed until August 1987.
Kadilingan – San Isidro Parish
In 1950, Kadingilan was a far-flung barrio of Kibawe, the southernmost municipality of Bukidnon, populated by Manobo tribes and few Christians. There were no roads and means of transport was only by carabao or by foot, passing through hilly terrain and a monkey bridge crossing over the Muleta River. In 1960’s, the arrival of new settlers, mostly Christians from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao inspired Fr. Sergio Cerutti SJ, the parish priest of Kibawe, to build a chapel. The community celebrated their first fiesta on October 24, 1962 with San Isidro Labrador as the patron saint. In 1963, with the Christian settlers increasing in numbers, Fr. Alfonso Flores SJ was installed as the first parish priest. The parish soon included the southern parts of Pangantucan and Don Carlos. He then managed to construct a new church and founded San Isidro High School. After him, followed Fr. James Cawley, SJ as the next parish priest for two years and during his stay, he was able to construct additional classrooms. After his two years term, he was transferred to Wao. In 1967, Fr. John Krebs SJ was assigned as the third parish priest with Fr. Matthew Fullam SJ as his assistant parish priest. He served the parish for 21 years until his transfer to Camp Phillips, Manolo Fortich in 1990, then onto Xavier University later. Diocesan priests took over the parish that year.
Kalabugao – Our Lady of Mercy Parish
The parish of Kalabugao was first evangelized by Lumad lay people who were baptized in the lowlands but sought refuge in this isolated place during the war. After the war, they invited Fr. Fenton Fitzpatrick SJ, the first resident parish priest of Impasug-ong for once a year pastoral visit. In 1956, a young Jesuit, Fr. Vincent Cullen arrived and started a 25-year missionary apostolate among the mountain people who experienced cultural alienation with the deluge of Dumagats. In 1984, Fr. Cullen had a stroke and was forced to abandon this mission parish. Diocesan priests soon followed to replace him.
Kalasungay – St. Ignatius de Loyola Parish
Kalasungay, together with Linabo, Malaybalay and Bugcaon, were the first four villages under the Sumilao mission. The evangelization by the Jesuits in Kalasungay began in 1888 with the fulfillment of the Easter duty by Fr. Pablo Pastells and Fr. Juan Terricabras. A small shed was built even if it was for nothing else but to shelter the weak and sick children. Fr. Juan Heras, the Mission Superior of Balingasag also visited Kalasungay. He took a long hike from Sumilao via Impasug-ong and Sil-ipon. In the early years, other Jesuit priests also visited: Fr. Juanmarti, the local Superior of the Sumilao mission; in November 1892, Fr. Barrado baptized 106 people and blessed 20 couples; Fr. Jose Vilaclara celebrated the feast of Immaculate Conception; Fr. Ramon Llord fixed the convento and reminded the Mission Superior, Fr. Juan Ricart, regarding the image of St. Ignatius he promised to the people of Kalasungay; and, Fr. Raimundo Peruga taught twice a day and heard confessions from 14 to 19 April 1895. The St. Ignatius of Loyola parish of Kalasungay has now been in existence for 123 years.
Kalilangan – San Vicente Ferrer Parish
Fr. James Cawley SJ celebrated the first chapel fiesta in April 1955. The mass was attended by devout Catholics who were early settlers and NARRA personnel from the area. The chapel then was made of cogon and bamboo. Fr. Cawley served this settlement since 1953. Based in Maramag, 48 km away, he came every month walking all the muddy way to minister to the spiritual needs of these people. He did this through 1960 when he was already the parish priest of the neighboring Wao, Lanao del Sur. In the late 1950’s, the chapel was transferred to its present site and a wooden church was built in 1957. In 1961, Fr. Frank Webster SJ from the Pangantucan parish of which Kalilangan was still a barrio continued the ministry. The parish of Kalilangan was formally set up in 1962 with Fr. Edward Sullivan SJ as the first parish priest. He returned to the US after 10 years of service. Fr. James Collin SJ took over in 1972 as the second parish priest until his untimely death right in his Convento on December 15, 1974. The church was constructed in its present concrete form in 1975 during the time of Fr. Francisco Montecastro SJ, the third parish priest. He injected social consciousness into the parish life with socio-economic projects. When the fourth parish priest took over, Fr. Vito Clemencio, it was a time of turbulence and mass evacuations created by the pressure of secessionist MNLF forces along the Lanao del Sur border. Fr. Jose Dacanay SJ followed as the fifth parish priest in 1978. He had to contend with internal violence due to insurgency and counter-insurgency related problems. He fired salvos directed against the excesses and abuses committed by the military within the municipality. It was during this time that the Church apostolates became suspect of anti-government activities.
Kibangay – St. Francis Xavier Parish
The church started out as a simple cogon and bamboo chapel, built by native Dumagats and new settlers in the area. The construction of the road to Kibangay enabled foreign missionaries to come. The first was Fr. Connigan SJ from Australia, followed by Fr. Kelly and Fr. James McGuire, both from Scarboro Mission Fathers of Canada. The Catholic Womens League was organized in 1980. It was formally blessed by Fr. Bert Fantonial, the parish priest of Lantapan. Through the initiative of the CWL, the chapel was improved and a small convent was built. With the initiative of Fr. James McGuire and some religious people, in 1995, the Xavier de Kibangay High School became a reality. In 1998, Bishop Honesto Ch. Pacana SJ, DD approved the community’s request for a parish priest.
Kibawe – Immaculate Conception Parish
Formerly part of the parish of Santo Niño, Dangcagan, Bukidnon, co-terminus with the municipality of Kibawe. Established in February 1956 as a separate parish with Fr. Sergio Cerutti SJ, a missionary from China, appointed as parish priest. The parish covered the territories of what is now the parish of Santo Rosario, Damulog and the parish of San Isidro Labrador, Kadingilan. Fr. Cerutti built the parish convent in 1956 and started the construction of the parish church in 1957. He founded the Stella Matutina Academy in 1962 to answer the needs of the growing student population of the newly established parish. In 1968, he was transferred to Wao, Lanao del Sur and Fr. Godofredo Alingal SJ was appointed parish priest. Fr. Ling, as he was fondly called by his brother Jesuits, was a man of justice. His administration of the parish was marked by people’s organization. He pioneered in the lay leaders/alagad formation program, community organization, local based health program, farmers cooperatives and blackboard newspapers. His works for justice “for the little people” of his parish, in the words of Bishop Claver SJ, first Bishop of Bukidnon, was the main reason for his brutal death inside the convent in April 1981. Other priests who served the Parish: Fr. Renato Jimenez SJ-1981-1982; then followed with diocesan priests thereafter.
Kiburiao – San Isidro Labrador Parish
Kiburiao became a parish in 1969 with the arrival of Fr. James Cawley SJ. A chapel was already built in 1954 and the first fiesta in honor of San Isidro Labrador was celebrated in 1955. Fr. Cawley initiated the construction of the convent and the parish church in 1970 and enriched both the spiritual and the economic lives of his parishioners through devotions and seminars. Nuns from the Daughters of St. Theresa congregation helped in his mission. In 1980, after elven years of his service, Fr. Cawley was transferred and replaced by a diocesan priest.
Kisolon (Sumilao) – Christ the King Parish
From 1940 to 1951, Fr. Thomas Roleigh SJ was the parish priest of both Kisolon and Impasug-ong. In 1952, Fr. Fenton Fritzpatrick SJ took over the parishes. He was temporarily replaced by Fr. Vincent Cullen SJ in 1956 when he got sick. He came back in 1957 but Fr. Clement Risarche SJ was, then the assigned regular priest. Fr. Risarche opened the first two years of Pillar School. Due to his illness, he was replaced by Fr. George Murphy SJ. In 1967, Fr. Murphy’s untimely death gave Fr. Vincent Cullen SJ chance to continue his service to the parish. His time was marked by the construction of the Christ the King Church. In 1974, Fr. Mattew Fullam SJ was installed as the Parish Priest of Sumilao. He opened the next two years of Pillar High School and included lay leaders as members of the board. It was in his time that the life-size statue of Christ the King was erected. From 1974 to 1985, Fr. Edward Van Groenendael SJ. succeeded as parish priest.
Kitaotao – San Vicente Ferrer Parish
In 1945 after the war, Kitaotao was inhabited mostly by natives. There were only 4 Catholic families but after a while they increased in number. They built a chapel made of cogon and that was the first time they were visited by a missionary priest. In 1973-1975, Fr. Fhebolt arrived, but he did not stay long. He was replaced by Fr. Joseph Raviolo SJ in 1975-1977 and he became the first Parish priest.
Kitobo – San Roque Parish
In 1970, the settlers in the area built a chapel in honor of San Roque where they could gather for prayer and worship. Fr James Cawley SJ, who was the priest of Kiburiao at that time, regularly celebrated masses for the growing catholic population. Kitobo was then part of Kiburiao parish. In 1975, it became a mission parish. Bishop Francisco Claver SJ appointed Fr. Marc Van Nieuwenhoe SJ as its first parish priest. Fr. Marc has truly enriched the lives of the people, both Lumads and the settlers, by bringing unto them the Gospel and the sacrament unmindful of the mountainous and rugged terrain In 1993, after eighteen years of dedicated service, Fr. Marc was transferred and replaced by a diocesan priest.
Lantapan – Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Parish
The parish was founded in 1963 and was served by diocesan clergy, by Fr. Dennis Corrigan (1079-80).
Libona – Jesus Nazareno Parish
Libona was made a parish in 1980 with Fr. Alberto Fantonial as the first parish priest and Jesus of Nazareth as its patron. In the same year, a convent was constructed at Barangay Crossing. In 1981, Fr. Fantonial was replaced by Fr. Camilo Balansag SJ. Two years after, Fr. Leo Welch SJ assumed the responsibility as parish priest. In his time, there was a clear sense of direction in the parish. There was also an increase of active parishioners and lay leaders. On June 29, 1987, Fr. Welch was relieved by Fr. Raul Dael SJ (now Bishop of Tandag) with his assistant, Fr. Dan Paciente. In his time, the parish likewise experienced growth with well-organized church activities and apostolates.
Linabo – St. Michael Parish
It was from Linabo, the oldest barrio of Malaybalay, that Fr. Eusebio Barrado made his historical exploration of the Pulangui downstream to the Cotabato regions where it became the Rio Grande de Mindanao. Since its creation in 1878, several Jesuits missionaries had been assigned to Linabo. One was Fr. Phillip Boyle, who initiated the building of the big wooden church in Linabo for the parishioners, as well as the founding of St. Michael High School in 1968 to serve the youth in the community. Fr. James Gordon Koller SJ was the last Jesuit missionary assigned in the parish. Since then, diocesan priests have cared for the spiritual needs of the parishioners.
Malaybalay – San Isidro Cathedral
From 1596 to 1987, the Jesuits were a part of the fabric of the faithful in Bukidnon for an astounding number of years both influencing and giving support to the population. Indeed, the diocese of Malaybalay owes an incalculable debt of gratitude of the Society of Jesus. Malaybalay became a parish in 1937 with Fr. Austin Dowd SJ as resident priest. From thereon, the Jesuits held the parish continuously. After the Jesuits, the parish came into the care of diocesan priests beginning with Fr. Rodulfo Porras in 1976. On April 25, 1969, Malaybalay became a prelature and Rev. Fr. Francisco Claver SJ was ordained Bishop on August 22, 1969. On November 15, 1982, it became a diocese with Bishop Gaundencio Rosales, D.D. as spiritual head. Then in 1991, on March 18, Msgr. Rosales was ordained as Archbishop of Lipa, Batangas. This left the diocese without a bishop. It was only on March 24, 1994, that Bishop Honesto Pacana SJ. D.D, was ordained and installed as the new bishop of Malaybalay.
Malaybalay (sitio Patpat) - St. Francis Xavier Church (see notes)
Fr. Joseph Reith, SJ supervised the construction of St. Francis Xavier Church in Patpat, Malaybalay circa 1950’s. A former editor of the magazine, Jesuit Missions, he was assigned in 1931 to the Tagnipa mission (El Salvador). He founded San Isidro High School in July 1949 – now, San Isidro College and turned over to the Diocese of Malaybalay in 1971.
Manolo Fortich – Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish
This parish was part of our Lady of Lourdes Parish, sitio Philips in barangay Agusan Canyon. During the early years, Fr. Rodolio Cabonce SJ, as parish priest, celebrated masses only once a month. In 1951-1952, regular Sunday masses were celebrated, but the parish priest still a non-resident. Until some active parishioners from this parish donated some building materials to start a small convent. In 1954, the parish had its first parish priest, Fr. Edward Van Groenendael SJ who served for eleven years. He was followed by Fr. James Collins SJ for 4 years; Fr Leo Welch SJ for 4 years; Fr, Joseph Bittner SJ for 3 years; Fr. Joseph Venere SJ for 2 years; Fr. William Macaso DCM for 1 year; Fr. Amancio Borja SJ for 1 year, Fr. Ceciro Cebrero SJ for 4 years; followed by DCM priests through the present.
Maramag – San Andres Parish
Fr. James Cawley SJ chose Maramag to be his base as he journeyed over Southern Bukidnon. The intrepid missionary, he indefatigably opened eight parishes and earned the sobriquet “Apostle of Southern Bukidnon”. He built the Maramag parish church and opened San Andres High School. Fr. Camilo Balansag SJ assisted him in 1951; followed by Fr. Agustin Sagrado SJ in 1952-1958; and by Fr. Carasig SJ, who later proceeded to Musuan. Italian Jesuits who were refugees from China, arrived in the Philippines. One of them, Fr. Ferrucio Leoni SJ came to Maramag. With foresight of further development, he acquired land on which now stand the Saint Joseph Southern Hospital, the Diocesan Seminar House, and the Saving Personality Center known as Happy Home. Fr. Leoni during his time had also acquired land where the branch Business Office of the Land Bank of the Philippines and Mutya Bayanihan buildings were erected. The area was the former dormitory site for the students from Pangantucan before he added the third year and fourth year courses in San Andres High School and started an educational program for the Manobo youth. Fr. Cawley, Fr. Leoni and Fr. Manlio Caroselli in the north, were the “bulldozers” of the Jesuit mission in Bukidnon. In 1959, Bishop Francisco Claver SJ, DD first prelate of Malaybalay, sent several Jesuits to Maramag: Fr. Anthony Schouten and Bro. Petilla (1966-1968); Fr. Jose Llana (1969); Fr. Jose Manguiran, the first diocesan priest in Maramag who pioneered with Fr. Robert Cunningham SJ in preparing the laity for an active role in the Church (1971-1974); Fr. Guiseppe Venere (1975-1978) who built the convent. The dream of Fr. Leoni for a hospital in Maramag, especially for the poor, was realized in 1969. Bro. Wenceslao Caberio SJ assisted Bro. Sinayan. The Sisters of St. Paul of Chartes accepted the challenge and took over the management of the said hospital, which they still hold at present. Young Jesuits succeeded one after the other in the parish: Fr. Fernando Macalinao, Fr. Pablo Cavan, and Fr. Leonil Sumpaico (1982-85). San Andres Parish had been under the Jesuits for more than forty years. Fr. Edward Groendael SJ was resident chaplain of the Catholic Hospital and sometimes assisted in the Parish in 1991.
Masimag – San Roque Parish
The San Roque Feast Day was first celebrated in barrio Masimag in August 1953 with the presence of the parish priest from Maramag. From that time until 1967, Jesuit missionaries led the activities that shaped the spiritual and moral development of the people. In 1968, Masimag has its first Parish Priest, Fr. Pablo Bartome, SJ who started to build a church and in 1970-71, built a convent. Fr. Bartome SJ rendered service to the people for twelve years and was succeeded by diocesan clergy.
Musuan – San Isidro Labrador Parish
The establishment of the Musuan church in what became later as Central Mindanao University was initiated by Fr. James Cawley SJ. From 1953-1956, masses were celebrated at the Fulbright Garden by Fr. Pablo Casarig SJ. Baptismal records showed that he was also the first priest to give the first baptism on January 11, 1956. He initiated the construction of the chapel (now in its present site) in the same year. The parish was organized in 1957 by Msgr. James Hayes SJ of Cagayan de Oro with Fr. Joseph Raviolo SJ as the first parish priest. In October 1958, Fr. William Ahern SJ initiated the expansion of the parish church and completed in 1959. The parish was formally established by Msgr. Francisco Claver SJ during his first visit on August 10, 1070. The following Jesuits served as parish priest: Fr. Ramon Katigbak (1970-1971), Fr. Greg Aherne (1971-1972), Fr. Renato Jimenez (1972-1974), Fr. Robert Cunningham (1974-1978), Fr. George Kirchessner (1978-1986) and Fr. Jose Dacanay SJ (1986-1995). The parish served by the Society of Jesus for 42 years (1953-1995).
Natulongan – San Isidro Labrador Parish
In 1970’s, the chapel was first established by Fr. Efren Estaniel. During that time, the land was inhabited mostly by Manobo tribes. In 1990’s, Fr. Artemio Plamus recommended to Bishop Honesto Pacana SJ DD to raise the chapel to parish status. Natulongan was proclaimed a parish last June 26, 2005.
Pangantucan – San Isidro Parish
Before 1957, Pangantucan was under the parish of Maramag. In September 1957, Fr. James Cawley SJ was appointed as first parish priest of San Isidro Parish. In October 1959 Fr. Cawley was assigned to Wao and once again San Isidro Parish was cared for by Maramag under Fr. Ferrucio Leoni SJ. In June 1961, Fr. Frank Webster SJ was appointed parish priest until April 1967. He built the present convento and the very large and beautiful church. He worked very hard for and finally received the title for the land of the Pangantucan Community High School. He also established a very active cooperative. In April 1967, Fr. Gregory Horgan SJ became parish priest until October 1975. he began the construction of the high school and classes began in June of 1968. He also continued the work of cooperative began by Fr. Webster. In October 1975, Fr. Peter Wearne became parish priest until January 1978. In 1979 the Missionary Benedictine Sisters arrived in Pangantucan under Sr. Mary Jerome Pineda, O.S.B. and Sr. Jerome became Directress of the high school. The Benedictine Sisters took over the various apostolates of catechetics, health and the Family Apostolate. On April 5, 1978 Fr. Bob Cunningham SJ became the parish priest and by July 1978 the Benedictine Sisters finally had their own convento and at the same time the San Benito de Loyola seminary house was opened. In 1982 Sr. Jerome was assigned to Manila and Fr. Bob took over as Director of the high school. The Benedictine Sisters continued their active apostolates until 1985 when Bishop Rosales requested them to leave Pangantucan and take over San Isidro College in Malaybalay. In September 1984, Bacusanon, a barrio of Pangantucan, became a parish with Fr. Jose Dacanay SJ as the first Parish priest. This is the present Virgen de los Remedios Parish. When Fr. Dacanay left Bacusanon in January 1986, the Bacusanon parish was once again cared for by the San Isidro Parish.
Quezon – Nuestra Señora del Pilar Parish
Frist proclaimed as a parish in October 1964 with Fr. Ferrucio Leoni SJ as the first parish priest beginning August 1965. He organized seven chapels with seven catechists. One of the apostolates of the parish was the foundation of the school: Nuestra Señora del Pilar High School. From 1982 onwards, the parish has been served by diocesan clergy.
Salawagan – Santo Rosario Parish
The parish started as a chapel in 1951. It was then under the San Andres parish of Maramag. In 1962, the Catholic community, under Fr. Agustin Sagrado SJ, constructed a larger building within the Barangay Salawagan Plaza which was gradually concretized. Noting the fast increase of the population, Bishop Camomot of the Archdiocese of Cagayan upgraded the chapel into a parish in 1975 with Fr. Dennis Corrigan as the first parish priest. Fr. Corrigan supported the distribution of relief goods to indigents and approved the re-scheduled date of the Sto. Rosario Feast Day from October 7 to October 25. After three years, Fr. Corrigan was relieved by Fr. Oscar Gorgonio who continued the schedule of masses, recruited more lay workers, expanded and improved the convent building, and maintained the active participation of the different apostolates. On May of 1986, Fr. Oscar was transferred and replaced by diocesan clergy.
San Fernando – San Fernando Rey Parish
In 1966, the first priest to ventured to the wilderness of San Fernando was Msgr. Francisco Claver SJ who was then also serving the parish of Malaybalay. At that time the first chapel was in Namnam, the center of town and also located near the airstrip of the Nasuli Summer Institute of Linguistics. The other Jesuits who served were Fr. Joseph Stoffel SJ and Fr. Dennis Conigan. In 1971, San Fernando became a regular parish and was called the Parish of Jesus' Blessed Heart. The first parish priest was Fr. Gregory Aherne SJ. He served for ten years before returning to the US. He was succeeded by priests from the Scarboro Foreign Mission and later by diocesan clergy.
San Isidro (Valencia) – San Isidro Labrador Parish
The parish grew from a chapel which was originally a family devotion of the Tejada family to San Isidro Labrador. Formerly from Bohol, the family was willing to share their devotion with the Lumads and other settlers. They used to invite Fr. Feruccio Leoni SJ, the parish priest from Valencia, to celebrate masses in their chapel. Around 1960 to 1970, the barangay grew in population and the mass attendance also increased. Fr. Venere, the new parish priest in Valencia parish decided to transfer the chapel to a safer and accessible place. Through community “bayanihan”, a new and bigger chapel was built on the property donated by the daughter of the Tejada family.
Sumilao - Nuestra Señora del Pilar Parish (see notes)
The Nuestra Señora del Pilar Catholic Church was built in the 1870’s to serve the first Christian settlement in Bukidnon. This was accomplished through the concerted efforts of Jesuit missionaries, Fr. Juan Terricabas, SJ and the intrepid Fr. Eusebio Barrado, SJ. As resident priest of Sumilao and later Linabo, Fr. Barrado was able to intensify the evangelization of the mountainous area of Bukidnon. This later led to his pioneering exploration of the Pulangi River downstream towards the Cotabato regions. Datu Manvino (Manlomero) was the first Lumad baptized in this church, June 15, 1877. The church was dedicated to the patronage of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar in March 1878. (Photo of church in inset)
Talakag – San Jose Parish
The parish was founded in 1941 and made possible through the initiative of the Jesuit Missionaries. It has 41 chapels located in 29 barangays. Among the many Jesuits who celebrated Sunday mass in this parish was Fr. James Edward Haggerty, Rector of Ateneo de Cagayan. The Jesuit priests assigned to the parish were: Fr. Edward Wasil (1941-46), Fr. Alejo Gegalaclo (1945-48), Fr. Efecio Dolalas (1948-51), Fr. Godofredo Alingal (1951-57), Fr. Jaime Neri (1957-58), Fr. Camelo Balansag (1958-62), Fr. Matthew Fullam (1962-66), Fr. Joseph Bittner (1966-73), Fr. Matthew Fullam (1973-74), Fr. Robert Dy (1974-92), Fr. Danilo Paciente (1992).
Valencia City – San Agustin Parish
The new parish was established in September 14, 1992.
Wao (Lanao del Sur) – Immaculate Conception Parish
As of 1952, Wao was still part of San Andres Parish of Maramag. In 1956, after four long years of walking and travelling in bad road conditions by Fr. James Cawley SJ, the Missionary Priest of Maramag, the Immaculate Conception Chapel was elevated to parish status. He served the parish from 1956-1967. There were other Jesuit and Columban missionaries who came to help Fr. James Cawley during his time. Fr. Matthew Fullam SJ took over from 1967 to 1968, followed by Fr. Pablo Bartolome SJ in 1968, and Fr. Sergio Cerutti from 1968 to 1980.
a) Not all parish churches of the Diocese of Malaybalay are included in this summary.
b) Information on St. Francis Xavier Church (Patpat, Malaybalay) and Nuestra Señora del Pilar Catholic Church (Sumilao) were added by the content author of this website.
Nuestra Señora del Pilar Church in Sumilao, serving the first Christian settlement in Bukidnon