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DIOCESE OF TEPIC (TEPICENSIS)

A diocese of the Mexican Republic, suffragan of the Archbishopric of Guadalajara. Its area is that of the federal state of the same name, that is, 10,951 sq. m., besides a few parishes situated in the western part of Jalisco. It has a population of 171,837 inhabitants (Census of 1910). The principal city which is also the residence of the bishop and the political head is Tepic, 3146 feet above sea level and has 16,805 inhabitants. All this territory was discovered and devastated and the natives cruelly treated by the famous Nuno de Guzman in 1530. It is said that during the conquest, many plots and even attempts at insurrection were made, not only by the allied Indians but also by the Spanish themselves. To check this evil, some were hanged and others were put in prison ; many were tortured to obtain confessions as to the instigators of these conspiracies, the object of which in most cases was to return to Mexico. These cruelties caused such despair among the Indians who carried the supplies of the expedition that a great many committed sucide by hanging themselves in groups of ten. The Spanish had already established themselves, and cities such as Tepic, Compostela, S. Blas, Acaponetam, etc. had already been founded when religious services were established. These soon developed and thrived after the foundation of the Bishopric of Guadalajara in 1548.

The mountainous region of the wonderful provinces of Nayarit, inhabited by barbarous and ferocious tribes of Indians, were still remaining refractory to civilization and Christianity. In 1668 the Franciscan Fathers J. Caballero and Juan B. Ramirez attempted, but in vain, to penetrate these mountains. The venerable Father Margil of the convent of Zacatecas also tried to reach these regions in 1711, but he was forced to retreat without satisfaction. Nayarit, which belonged to the Bishopric of Durango since its creation in 1620, remained so until the Bishop of Durango gave the mission of civilizing this wild country to Father Tomas de Solehaga, S.J., professor of moral theology at the college at Durango ; he was successful in penetrating the country to the heart of the mountains and there began to sow fruitful seeds in 1716. When the Marquis of Valero was Viceroy of New Spain he received through the royal cedula of Philip V an order to subdue the Indians of that territory and make them swear allegiance to the Spanish monarch; after many bloody battles and with many difficulties and hardships, he succeeded, with the help of his brave captains in taking possession of the famous Mesa del Tonatiy. At his request the Father Provincial of the Society of Jesus of New Spain sent several missionaries to convert the newly-conquered Indians. They soon established flourishing missions which, when the Jesuits were expelled by the Decree of Charles III, included the following missions: Santa Rita, Santa Teresa, Iscatán, Jesus María, SSma. Trinidad, Giuanamota, and Rosario. After the expulsion of the Jesuits the parish priest of Bolaños on several occasions visited the reductions. The Franciscan Fathers took charge of the missions until the year 1807, when the Fathers of the College of Nuestra Señora de Zacatecas returned and remained until the mother-house at Zacatecas was abolished.

In 1891 Leo XIII created the Diocese of Tepic which became suffragan of the Archbishopric of Guadalajara ; it was completed with several parishes situated in the present State of Jalisco. The bishopric has 1 seminary and 72 alumni; 23 Catholic schools and 6 Catholic colleges with about 3,000 alumni. The present bishop is the Rt. Rev. Andrew Segura, who was consecrated, 16 Sept., 1906. There are 3 Protestant churches.


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