ANTIPOLO City, Sept. 10, 2016— Mindful of God’s mercy and compassion, Bishop Francisco De Leon formally assumed his new role as head of the Diocese of Antipolo on Saturday.
Hundreds of bishops, priests, the religious and well-wishers packed the Antipolo Cathedral for the canonical installation of De Leon.
In his message, the 69-year old bishop said that in his four decades as priest he has been conscious of God’s mercy in his life.
“The Lord is kind and merciful,” De Leon said. “I am where I am now because the Lord is merciful and rich in compassion.”
He also vowed to continue what his predecessor, Antipolo Bishop Emeritus Gabriel Reyes, has started.
“I thank my predecessor Bishop Reyes who gave those 13 years to the diocese of Antipolo its stability and consistency and I will continue to do that and perhaps even more,” he added.
The installation was presided over by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and was witnessed by several prelates led by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President.
In his homily, Villegas called on the faithful to continue supporting their new bishop and the diocese’s endeavors.
“My dear people of God trust your bishop as you trust the Lord…give him the chance to love you. And to you Bishop Francis and to you people of God in the Diocese of Antipolo we entrust all of you to Mary,” he said.
Cardinal Tagle, for his part, urged the faithful to avoid comparing Bishop De Leon with his predecessor.
“Respect their differences. Don’t look for Bishop Gabby in Bishop Francis,” the cardinal said. “…The Church will survive in these differences.”
“There is a certain diversity that leads to division, but there is a diversity that is a gift of the Spirit to strengthen the Church, and through that diversity the many gifts of the Church are used to respond to the many needs of the Church,” he also said.
De Leon was born on June 11, 1947 in La Huerta, Paranaque and was ordained a priest on June 28, 1975 in the Archdiocese of Manila.
In November 2015, he was named as Coadjutor bishop of Antipolo prior to his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Antipolo in 2007.
Antipolo diocese is one of the nine suffragans that make up the ecclesiastical province of Manila. (Chrixy Paguirigan/CBCPNews)