MANILA, June 16, 2011?Two new bishops appointed by the Vatican yesterday reflected on the pastoral challenges of the episcopacy, saying they will try their best to live up to the challenges that come with the task.
Masbateâ€™s incoming prelate Msgr. Bantolo, said his appointment was more of a great surprise, and that he accepted the latest assignment with â€œmixed feelings.â€
â€œI feel honored with the appointment and must carry on the tasks that go along with the assignment as Masbateâ€™s third bishop,â€ the bishop-elect told CBCPNews at midday today.
When told that he would be shepherding one of the countryâ€™s poorest provinces, Masbateâ€™s third prelate expressed optimism that he would be able to accomplish what is expected of him. Bantolo succeeds Bishop Joel Z. Baylon who was appointed Legazpi Bishop in October 1, 2009.
A product of the governmentâ€™s public elementary school system, the latest appointee finished his grade school at Guisijad (Antique) Elementary School. He later enrolled at St. Peterâ€™s Seminary for his high school and college education from 1973-1981.
He was sent to San Jose Seminary at the Loyola School of Theology in Quezon City where he acquired his degree in Theology from 1981-1986.
Bantolo obtained an M. A. in Educational Management from Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City and a licentiate in Philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, from 1996-1998.
From 2005-2006, he studied at the School of Applied Theology at the University of Berkeley in California, USA.
The influential Manila Archbishop Jaime L. Cardinal Sin ordained Bantolo to the diaconate in August 3, 1985 at the Sta. Maria dela Strada in Balara, Quezon City. Then San Jose de Antique Bishop Raul Q. Martirez ordained him to the priesthood last April 26, 1986 at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Guisijan, Laua-an, Antique.
Bishop-elect Joe has been a parish priest and school administrator all his life aside from being chaplain to various lay organizations.
Aside from his travels to Italy and the United States, he has been to Banalore in India and several places in Indonesia.
He looks forward to his Episcopal ordination on the second week of August in San Jose, Antique and his installation as Bishop of Masbate before the end of August this year.
As far as Nueva Segovia Vicar General Monsignor David William Valencia Antonio is concerned, he was â€œsomewhat nervousâ€ when he received word of his appointment because of the responsibilities that go along with the task.
He told CBCPNews he will have to rely on the grace of God to fulfill whatever responsibilities Archbishop Ernesto Salgado would give him.
He added that he looks forward to doing what he could to accomplish his assignments.
Asked how his latest appointment would affect his everyday life, the 47-year old auxiliary bishop said he would be â€œbusierâ€ because aside from being a â€œformatorâ€ and having a parish, he teaches Sacraments and Pastoral Theology at the Immaculate Conception School of Theology in Vigan. (Melo M. Acuna)