The Most Rev. Teodoro Bacani, D.D. when the Diocese was still called QC-NED

In the beginning, Diocese of Novaliches was under the Archdiocese of Manila’s Ecclesiastical Districts of Kalmana and Quezon City. It afterwards became a part of the Quezon City-North Ecclesiastical District (QC-NED) which was established in 1994 by the late Jaime Cardinal Sin.

This made QC-NED one of the seven ecclesiastical districts of the Metropolitan Manila, along with Manila, Pasig, Cubao, Parañaque, Makati and Kalookan. QC-NED was then headed by Most Rev. Francisco Claver, SJ with Msgr. Felipe Ocol as his Episcopal vicar.

In 1996, Most Rev. Teodoro Bacani, DD, was designated by Cardinal Sin to head the two districts of Kalmana and Quezon City North. Bishop Bacani designated Msgr. Alfonso Bugaoan, Jr. as his Episcopal Vicar.

There was a plebiscite held in 1999 among Quezon City voters to determine the cityhood of Novaliches but it didn’t bear fruit for it was heavily voted against. Had “Novaliches City” pushed through, it would have resulted in the secession of 15 barangays from Quezon City.

Three years after, the Diocese of Novaliches was officially established by a Vatican Decree signed by then-Pope John Paul II on December 7, 2002. The decree delcared the Diocese’s suffragan jurisdiction comprised the areas of Commonwealth, Fairview, Novaliches, Novaliches Bayan, Talipapa, Lagro, Tala, Bagong Silang, Deparo, Bagumbong, Payatas, and Tandang Sora.

Bishop Bacani with the members of the Council of the Laity of Novaliches (CLaN) during the early months of the Diocese

Announced by Cardinal Sin during a conference of the clergy and lay leaders held at Villa San Miguel, Manila, the Decree declared that the episcopal seat of the new Diocese is in the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd at Regalado Avenue, Fairview Park I, Novaliches, Quezon City. The episcopal seat serves as the residence of the Bishop and the center of all activities in the Diocese.

The Diocese initially had 50 Parishes clustered into seven Vicariates: Good Shepherd (Commonwealth to Fairview), Our Lady of Mercy (Novaliches, Bayan), Ascencion of Our Lord (Lagro, Tala, Bagong Silang), San Bartolome (Novaliches to Talipapa), Christ the King (Deparo to Bagumbong), St. Peter (Commonwealth to Payatas), and San Isidro Labrador (Tandang Sora).

In solemn rites held at the Cathedral Shrine of the Good Shepherd on January 16, 2003, Most Rev. Teodoro Bacani, D.D. was installed as the bishop of the new Diocese. His early appointments were the late Fr. Gerardo Tapiador as Vicar General, Fr. Jaime Lara as Chancellor, and Fr. James Gaa as Oeconomus.

Bishop Bacani did not start from scratch in managing the diocese for Committees representing the different sectors of the Church were already in existence. Some of these were the Committee on Youth (COY) and the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). While active Lay members involved since QC-NED helped Bishop Bacani in the creation of the Council of the Laity of Novaliches (CLaN) on March 21, 2003. CLaN became the springboard for the setting up of the Pastoral Commissions of the Diocese.

Rare photo of Bishop Bacani and the Clergy of Novaliches during the early months of the Diocese

However, Bishop Bacani resigned six months after the birth of the Diocese. The Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD, then the Bishop of San Fernando, La Union, was designated by Jaime Cardinal Sin on June 19, 2003 to serve concurrently as the Apostolic Administrator of Novaliches.

Bishop Tobias was formally appointed Bishop of Novaliches on November 25, 2003 and installed at the Good Shepherd Cathedral on January 26, 2004 in the presence of Cardinal Sin, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Franco, and Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales.

In his first message, Bishop Tobias emphasized his deep concern for the poor and exhorted his priests, the religious and lay leaders to be his chief collaborators in shepherding his flock “in all aspects of the totum bonum”. He stressed the need for material support for the poor such as food, health, schooling, employment, land ownership, and Family Planning.

The Bishop included his program for the poor when he convened the first Diocesan Pastoral Assembly on March 11-12, 2005. During which, Bishop Tobias the Diocesan Pastoral Thrust, Direction, and Vision/Mission Statement were designed along with the Diocesan Hymn and Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) Guidelines.

The jurisdictional growth of the Diocese was another aspect the Bishop looked into, especially with the increasing population of Novaliches. This meant creating new Parishes and new Vicariates, as well as the reclustering of Parishes into the present or new Vicariates.

The Installation Rites of the Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D. as the 2nd Bishop of Novaliches with the late Jaime Cardinal Sin