Hermosillo, Archdiocese of

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HERMOSILLO, ARCHDIOCESE OF

Mexican ecclesiastical province (Hermosillensis ); created a diocese in 1779; raised to an archdiocese in 1964; it then had as suffragans the Dioceses of Ciudad Obregón (1959) and Tijuana (1964), recently raised from an apostolic vicariate.

The religious administration of the modern state of Sonora was originally in the care of Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries, who arrived soon after its discovery. There were many illustrious missionaries who evangelized the primitive tribes of this distant region, but the best known is the Jesuit Eusebio Francisco kino, who occupies an outstanding place in Mexican missiology. When the bishopric of Durango was founded in 1620, the territory of Sonora was under its jurisdiction and was frequently visited by the bishops, as the visitation records in the archives of the cathedral of Durango testify. Since the See of Durango was too large to permit good ecclesiastical administration, Pius VI created the bishopric of Sonora on May 7, 1779. The first bishop, Antonio María de los Reyes, took charge of his diocese in 1782 and made his episcopal residence in Arispe.

The bishopric included the states of Sonora and Sinaloa and the territories of Lower and Upper California, all suffragan to Durango. In 1884 the Diocese of Sinaloa was erected. Lower California was made an apostolic vicariate, and Upper California came under the civil government of the U.S. and was made a separate diocese. Thus the Diocese of Sonora was reduced in size to the modern state of the same name. When the Diocese of Chihuahua was raised to a metropolitan see, Sonora was suffragan to it, and the area then was divided (1959) into the Dioceses of Ciudad Obregón and Hermosillo. Paul VI raised the Diocese of Hermosillo to an archdiocese; the last bishop, Don Juan Navarrete y Guerrero, continued in office as the first archbishop of the see.

[i. gallegos]

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