In the diocese entrusted to his care, the diocesan Bishop has all the ordinary, proper and immediate power required for the exercise of his pastoral office, except in those matters which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme or to some other higher ecclesiastical authority. The Most Reverend Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, D.D., possesses the ordinary, proper and immediate power over the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija since he was appointed and installed in the diocese. This means that the diocesan bishop, in virtue of his Episcopal consecration and the function he has received, governs his diocese directly, in his own name and with proper power, directly representing Christ.
Furthermore, the New Code of Canon Law legislated, that the diocesan Bishop governs the particular Church entrusted to him with legislative, executive and judicial power, in accordance with the law. He is the sole legislator of the diocese. However, the executive and judicial powers may be exercised through his vicars, and other clerics delegated. The Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija is a small particular Church. It has administrative and pastoral sections which were set up by the bishop in accordance with Canon Law to help him in the governance of entire diocese.
There are three distinctive juridical persons in the administrative section of the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija. These are the College of Consultors, the Diocesan Curia and the Diocesan Pastoral Assembly. They assist the bishop of the diocese in his proper service and governance of the people of God entrusted to him. Since the diocese is small and there are limited number of clerics, it does not have a Presbyteral Council.
College of Consultors
From among the members of the council of priests, the diocesan Bishop freely appoints not fewer than six and not more than twelve priests, who are for five years to constitute the college of consultors. The law establishes cases in which the diocesan bishop must ask its opinion and those from which he must obtain its consent. In most of the administrative matters, the College of Consultors are in consultative relation with the diocesan bishop. However, in the administration of goods, the law provides some extent to which the diocesan bishop must have the consent of the college before executing the matters which concern finances. It is also the duty of the college to elect a diocesan administrator during Sede Vacante.
There are eleven priests who are members of the College of Consultors in the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija. They are the Vicar General, the three Episcopal Vicars, three Vicars Forane, the Chancellor, the Oeconomus, the Liturgist, and the School Superintendent. The Diocesan Bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija convenes the College of Consultors every month, usually a week before the monthly clergy meeting. The bishop discussed matters of importance so as to hear their opinion, to ask for consent on economic matters and to facilitate well the coming clergy meeting. This procedure is very helpful for the bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija in governing his diocese.
The diocesan curia is composed of offices, institutions and persons who assist the Bishop in governing the entire diocese, especially in directing pastoral actions, in providing for the administration of the diocese, and in exercising judicial power. The curia of the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija has seven offices. They are the following, the vicar general, the episcopal vicar for the clergy, the episcopal vicar for the implementation of the diocesan formation program, the episcopal vicar for the religious, the chancery office, the archives and the office of the oeconomous. The diocesan bishop serves as the moderator curae.
Diocesan Pastoral Council
In each diocese, in so far as pastoral circumstances suggests, a pastoral council is to be established. Its function, under the authority of the Bishop, is to study and weigh those matters which concern the pastoral works in the diocese, and to proposed practical conclusions concerning them. It is composed of the faithful within the diocese who are in full communion with the Catholic Church. Canon Law legislates that the members of this council are not only clerics and religious but most especially the laity. Even though the council does not, strictly speaking, represent the faithful, it should truly reflect the entire portion of the people of God which constitutes the particular Church. The bishop of the diocese proposes the topics to be discussed. However, the council is by nature only a consultative body in relation to the bishop.
The Diocesan Pastoral Council of San Jose, Nueva Ecija is composed of all the priest who were given an office in the Diocesan Curia, the Vicars Forane, the Directors of the Diocesan Commissions, the members of the Commission on Integral Formation, the Superiors of all Religious Congregations, the Presidents of all Mandated Organizations in the diocesan level and all Presidents of the Parish Pastoral Councils. They have a regular meeting quarterly. The bishop assigns to them the implementation of the pastoral program of the diocese and some pastoral and liturgical activities to be done within the diocese.
Canons 383 – 394 provides the various forms of pastoral responsibilities of the diocesan Bishop. In order to fulfill all of these duties, the bishop organized pastoral sections in his diocese. The four divisions of the pastoral section of the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, they are as follows: The Diocesan Commisions, The Mandated Organizations and Lay Liturgical Ministries and the Parishes.
There are twenty two Diocesan Commissions in San Jose, Nueva Ecija. They are the following: Commission on Integral Formation, Commission on Clergy Formation, Commission on Religious, Commission on Liturgy, Commission on Youth, Commission on Vocations, Commission on Schools, Commission on Temporalities and Properties, Commission on Mission and Pontifical Mission Society, Commission on Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Commission on Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Affairs, Commission on Justice and Peace, Commission on Canon Law and Civil Law on Marriage Cases, Commission on Social Action, Commission on Pastoral Care of Prisoners, Commission on Bible Apostolate, Commission on Social Communications, Commission on Family and Life, Commission on Church Heritage, Commission on Catechetics, Commission on Health and Care Apostolate, Commission on Tribal and Indigenous People.
All diocesan commissions are headed by the priests of the diocese. The commission heads promote the responsibilities that the bishop have delegated upon them. They were given necessary funds by the diocese in order for them to perform their duties properly.
Mandated Organizations, Lay Liturgical Ministries and Transparochial Movements
The Mandated Organizations present in the diocese are the Adoration Nocturna Filipina, the Apostleship of Prayer, the Knights of Columbus, the Legion of Mary, the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, and the Catholic Women’s League. The Lay Liturgical Ministries are: the Extra Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, the Ministry of Lectors and Commentators, the Altar Servers, the Collector and Greeters, and the Mother Butlers Guild. The Transparochial Movements are: the FAMILIA, the Couples for Christ, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement, the Parish Renewal Experience, the El Shaddai, the Marriage Encounter and the Corsillo Movement.
These organizations foster lay empowerment in the diocese. These are the groups where the diocese is able to involve the lay faithful to be active in serving the Church.
The Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija is divided into three vicariates. The Vicariate of St. Joseph has seven parishes and one quasi parish. The Vicariate of St. Dominic has six parishes and one chaplaincy. The Vicariate of St. John has six parishes. The diocese has a total of nineteen parishes, one quasi parish and one chaplaincy. Seventeen parishes are handled by the diocesan clergy. The remaining two parishes, including the quasi parish and the chaplaincy are taken cared of by religious priests. There are presently twenty one diocesan priests and eleven religious priests serving the diocese with an approximate number of six hundred fourteen thousand two hundred baptized Catholics.
Commission on Integral Formation DK Team
Among the twenty two diocesan commissions, the Commission on Integral Formation is responsible for the implementation of the Pastoral Program of the diocese which is the Basic Ecclesial Community or what the diocese terms as the Damayang Kristiyano (DK). This commission offers a training program for all Damayang Kristiyano Workers of all the parishes. It is also responsible for organizing and monitoring the different BEC cells within the diocese.
The Damayang Kristiyano program is basically a spirituality which aims to gather the faithful especially those who are living in different barrios. Through this program the faithful who belong to the barrio areas of the diocese are given the opportunity to be united with the Church and to have participation in its mission. This program is in response to the Church of the Poor perspective of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines.
The diocese intends to apply the ten modules of formation (Paglilinang modules) to all members of the Damayang Kristiyano. All DK cells are expected to mature in their spirituality and economic aspects of life. There are stages which classifies the maturity of a DK cell: first, is the preparatory stage, second, is the organizing stage, and the stage of regular meetings. Some DK cells become a Peoples’ Organization by becoming a Cooperative. In this way the members of the DK were given benefits not only in spirituality but also in their livelihood. The DK members who are farmers were given more importance because organic farming technologies were also given to them.
Author: Rev. Fr. Getty Ferrer, JCD (candidate)