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Nueva Segovia

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(NOVAE SEGOBIAE)

Diocese in the Philippines, so called from Segovia, a town in Spain. The town of Nueva, or New, Segovia was in the Province of Cagayan, and was founded in 1581. Manila was the only diocese of the Philippine Islands until 14 Aug., 1595, when Clement VIII created three others, namely Cebú, Nueva Cáceres , and Nueva Segovia. The latter see was established at Nueva Segovia. About the middle of the eighteenth century, the see was transferred to Vigan, where it has since remained. The town of Nueva Segovia declined, was merged with a neighboring town called Lalloc, and its name preserved only by the diocese. Leo XIII (Const. "Quae mari Sinico") created four new dioceses in the Philippines, among them Tuguegarao, the territory of which was taken from Nueva Segovia, and comprises the Provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and two groups of small islands. The territory retained by the Diocese of Nueva Segovia embraces the Provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Union, Pangasinan, five towns in the province of Tarlac, the sub-province of Abra, and also a large part of what is called the Mountain province; all this territory lies between 15° and 19° N. lat. and is located in the large island of Luzon.

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The population of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia is about one million, consisting principally of the Ilocanos and Pangasinanes tribes, besides mountaineers who are nearly all Igorrotes. The Ilocanos and Pangasinanes live, mostly, in the plain between the mountains on the east and the China Sea on the west. They were all converted by the Spaniards, and, up to the present time have, generally speaking, remained faithful to the Catholic Church. Since the American occupation, a few Protestant sects have established themselves here, and have drawn a few of the ignorant class away from the Church. The fidelity of the Catholics was severely tested by the schism of 1902, started by Rev. Gregorio Aglipay, an excommunicated priest. He was born in this diocese, was a high military officer during the rising of the natives against the American sovereignty, and found much sympathy, especially in this part of the islands. He pretended to champion the rights of the native clergy, though the movement was political. He drew with him twenty-one priests and a large number of lay people. He and his movement have been discredited, and the people, in large numbers, have returned to the Church. Only a small part of the Igorrotes has been converted. The Spanish missionaries were evangelizing them until 1898, when the insurrection against the United States broke out, and the missionaries had to flee. Belgian and German priests have taken the place of the Spaniards in the missionary field, and gradually are reclaiming the people from their pagan and especially from their bloodthirsty customs.

There is at Vigan a seminary-college under Spanish Jesuit Fathers , with four hundred collegians and twenty seminarists; there is also a girls' college founded by the last Spanish bishop, Monsignor Hevia Campomanes, who had to flee in 1898. It is in charge of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres . The Dominican Fathers have a boys' college in Dagupan, Province of Pangasinan, and the Dominican Sisters have a girls' college in Lingayen, the capital of the same province. In 1910 a parochial school and college, under Belgian sisters, was opened at Tagudin, a town of the Mountain Province, with an attendance of 305 girls, who receive manual as well as intellectual training. A similar institution is projected for the subprovince of Abra, and will be entrusted to German sisters. Gradually parochial schools are being organized, but in many cases it has been found extremely difficult to sustain the expense. The Spanish government supported religion in all its works; but since the separation of Church and State the people, unaccustomed to contribute directly to the support of religion, find the maintenance of ecclesiastical institutions a difficult undertaking. At least Sunday schools are possible, and gradually they are coming into vogue. In Vigan, out of a population of 16,000, about 2000 go to Sunday school. There are not and never were almshouses or asylums of any kind. The people are very charitable towards the poor and afflicted, who have the custom of going at stated times in a body to the homes of the well-to-do, where they receive some gifts and where they then publicly recite the rosary for the spiritual good of their benefactors. Up to 1903 nearly all the bishops of Nueva Segovia were Spaniards. In that year Right Reverend D.J. Dougherty, D.D., an American, was appointed. He was transferred to the Diocese of Jaro, Philippine Islands, and Right Reverend J.J. Carroll, D.D., the present (1910) incumbent, like the former bishop an American, succeeded him.

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