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Pope Francis hosts Ozamis archdiocese pilgrims for 50th anniversary

Pope Francis welcomed pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Ozamiz led by Archbishop Jumoad, as they made a Marian pilgrimage to Rome for the 50th anniversary celebration of the foundation of the archdiocese.

"Pilgrimage to shrines is an eloquent expression of trust in God," Pope Francis said as he hosted the Filipino pilgrims in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall.

The pope said he is happy that the Filipino pilgrims chose a Marian pilgrimage, emphasizing the significance of Mary's guidance in nurturing a deeper connection to Christ.

"It is Mary who shows us that being followers of Jesus involves listening to His Word," Pope Francis said.

He expressed hope that the pilgrimage would turn every pilgrim into “missionary disciples transformed by your encounter with the Lord and renewed in zeal for bearing witness to his presence, compassion and love.”

The pope also hoped that the Archdiocese of Ozamiz will be able to contribute to the advancement of God’s kingdom of justice, unity and peace. 

“In this regard, it is my hope that your parishes and communities will be models in practicing the works of mercy and in being neighbours to all, especially families, young people, the sick, the elderly and the poor, with the charity that Jesus asks of us,” he said.

He concluded the audience by imparting his blessing and greeting each of the Filipino pilgrims.

Ozamiz was created a territorial prelature on Jan. 27, 1951. It was elevated to a diocese on Feb. 17, 1951 with Bishop Jesus Varela as its first diocesan bishop.

It was raised to the rank of an archdiocese on January 24, 1983 with Vincentian missionary Jesus Dosado as its first archbishop.

Jumoad was appointed archbishop on Oct. 4, 2016 after Dosado’s retirement. The archdiocese comprises the province of Misamis Occidental.

The metropolitan province of Ozamis has the Dioceses of Dipolog, Iligan, Pagadian and the Territorial Prelature of Marawi as its suffragan dioceses. In the 2021 statistic of the Annuario Pontificio, the archdiocese is home to 475,450 Catholics or 71.7% of the total population.