Saint James the Greater Parish
7101 Dapitan City
Zamboanga del Norte Philippines
Parish Priest: Rev. Msgr. Enrico V. Montano, VF
Parochial Vicar: Rev. Fr. Neil O. Embol
Resident Priest: Rev. Fr. Dembert O. Castillon
Tel. No.: 065 213 6402
Saint James Parish in Dapitan City takes pride in being the oldest in the diocese. With the Jesuit priest Pedro Gutierez as its first superior, it was made a permanent mission of the Society of Jesus in 1631 but dependent on Cebu, then on Zamboanga (1639) and on Loboc, Bohol (1643). It became independent sometime near 1645 under the administration of Fr. Melchor Hurlado, S.J. The Jesuits ministered the flock in Dapitan until their expulsion in 1970. The Augustinian Recollects took charge for a century. In 1871, the Jesuits came back. It was not until 1946 that the Dapitanons received a fellow Filipino and a diocesan priest to be their pastor in the person of Fr. Epifanio Baleares. Two years later, a fellow Dapitanon became their shepherd, Fr. Antonio Hamak, who served them for twenty years. Those who succeeded him include Fr. Engracio Rivera, Fr. Emigdio T. Socias, Msgr. Salvador Mora and Fr. Esteban Gaudicos, Fr. Ranulfo Suarez, Fr. Wilson Cadano, Fr. Virgilio Belleno, Fr. Gonzalo T. Villamil, Jr. At present, Rev. Msgr. Enrico V. Montano administers Saint James Parish. The laity have also participated prominently in the life and history of the parish. From Manook and his daughter, Maria Uray, to the present lay leaders, ministers, catechists, charismatics and mandated organization members, they have acted as lay evangelizers. As a consequence, the on-going parochial program focuses also on the enhancement of family life and the formation of the laity and the formation of the laity. With the support of various parish moves gradually to the establishment of basic ecclesial communities.