ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NAVAL
DIOCESE OF NAVAL
NAVAL 6543, BILIRAN, PHILIPPINES
It is my distinct pleasure to extend to the People of God of Carigara, my congratulations and prayerful whishes on the occasion
of the 400th anniversary of the formal evangelization of Leyte. Looking back in our history and particularly to that primordial
past in July 16, 1595, we cannot fail but realize with a high sense of gratitude and appreciation that God's omnipotent and
provident Hand has not been wanting in directing the course of events that brought the people of the settlement of Gara into
a believing community inspired by the Gospel message.
Whatever it was that captivated and attracted the early missionaries to this quiet and perhaps unknown spot in the north of
Leyte, only God can tell. But from there the fervent evangelization of the rest of Leyte and Samar was forged.
Carigara is now a completely different world from that time when those heroes of a missionary had envisioned a new horizon
and created new dimensions in the effort to evangelize and bring the people of the region to the True God.
We Carigaran-ons can only thank and praise God for this singular blessing of choosing Carigara as the "spring board" of later
missionary efforts. We thank the band of evangelizers (The Jesuits, Augustinians and Franciscans) who left their country
and gave their life to sow the new life of faith, hope and love. These missionaries were determined defenders of the natives,
and in addition to the precious gift of faith, they brought with them the inestimable treasures of culture and art, the effect
of which are still alive among our people.
400 precious years represent the Triumph of the Holy Cross and of the Faith, the victory of God's ministers in bringing the
good news to all. The growth of the early Christian community to what we now see, 400 years later, is due to the efforts
of past and present workers in the vineyard. With profound joy, therefore, I congratulate Archbishop Pedro R. Dean, the Clergy
and the entire People of God of Carigara. May the Triumph of the Cross be our moving inspiration in the new Evangelization.
FILOMENO G. BACTOL, D.D.
Bishop of Naval
July 16, 1995