New bishop told: Love your priests, poor

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Newly-ordained bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio receives a blessing from CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas during a ceremony at the Palo Cathedral on Sept. 4, 2015. (Photo: Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros)

PALO, Leyte, Sept. 7, 2015 – “Love the priests, the poor, the children and youth”

This was the advice CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas gave to newly-ordained Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio.

Speaking publicly during Florencio’s episcopal ordination on Sept. 4 at the Palo Cathedral, he said, “Always love your priests because if you will not love your priests, they might have another one.”

‘Face of mercy’

He further urged the new bishop to care for the priests even those who have fallen and stumbled along their way because “your face is a face of mercy.”

He also urged the prelate to give utmost attention to the poor and marginalized.

“Don’t make the poor distance (themselves) from you,” he said, adding that “at the sunset of our lives, the poor will judge us.”

“They must be able to understand your works and recognize your voice,” the prelate said before a throng of churchgoers who witnessed Florencio’s ordination.

The ordination, led by Papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto and Palo Archbishop John Du, was attended by many other prelates and priests from across the country.

First in 30 years

It was last July when Pope Francis named Florencio along with also newly-ordained prelate Dennis Villarojo as auxiliary bishops of Cebu.

Villarojo is from Cebu while Florencio is the first bishop to be appointed from the Palo archdiocese and its five suffragan dioceses in almost thirty years.

Also present during the ordination was Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, a former CBCP head and who also once served as archbishop of Palo from 2006 to 2010.

Palma recalled how super typhoon Yolanda tested the faith of the people, but was rewarded by the visit of Pope Francis who opted to be with the survivors in January.

“We were tested but we were blessed (with the Pope’s visit) and now we have another beautiful blessing,” he said referring to Florencio’s ordination. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)

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