Palo archdiocese celebrates first bishop in 28 years

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TACLOBAN City, July 7, 2015– With Pope Francis’ appointment of Bishop-elect Oscar Jaime Llaneta Florencio as the new auxiliary bishop of Cebu, the entire Archdiocese of Palo celebrates the gift of the archdiocese’ first bishop after 28 years.

“I am very happy, especially for Palo. The last bishop that has been appointed was twenty-eight years ago, Bishop Leonardo Medroso (of Tagbilaran, Bohol) which was in 1987 and now he is already retiring,” said Palo Archbishop John Du.

“As a bishop, he (Florencio) is now in the lineage of the apostles and can do confirmation and give absolution to certain grave sins,” he explained.

Gift to Palo, to the Church

Florencio whom Du relieved of his current assignment as rector of the St. John the Evangelist School of Theology was himself surprised at his new appointment, saying he did not aspire for it.

“[Besides] as a gift for me, the whole presbyterium and the whole church of the Archdiocese of Palo, I also consider this (appointment) as a responsibility and a commitment that I will have to commit again to God to be of service to the Church, especially this year that we are celebrating the Year of the Poor, so we can help also the poor, which are all for the glory of God,” Florencio said.

Florencio, who still considers Du as his immediate superior and mentor, celebrated his silver sacerdotal anniversary in April this year.

He admitted he needs the help and guidance of the prelate who was a former auxiliary bishop of Cebu prior to his assignment as bishop of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, on account of his cultural orientation which is Waray and not Cebuano.

READ: 2 new bishops were contemporaries at Collegio Filippino 

Work continues

The Palo prelate advised Florencio to focus on his being a new prelate and to prepare for his Episcopal consecration on Sept. 10 at the Palo Cathedral.

Florencio ably handled various assignments, including being an assistant chancellor during the Episcopal service of now retired Archbishop Pedro Dean and at present, as priest-in-charge of the Archdiocesan commission on faith communities, concurrent with his being rector of SJEST.

“This does not mean that we have to stop working,” he stressed, addressing his fellow priests in the Archdiocese during a recent press conference.

READ: Cebu gets 2 new auxiliary bishops 

Florencio added: “With Archbishop Du as our leader we have to move on and continue working because this is an enormous acknowledgement given by the Holy See, by the Holy Father, that there is something we can do for the good of the people and the church in the Archdiocese of Palo.”

He called on the seminarians to “continue what we have begun (especially) that we are reposed with the trust and confidence and therefore responsibility sets in.” (Eileen Nazareno – Ballesteros/CBCPNews)

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