PALO, Leyte, July 4, 2015 – The Pope appoints a new auxiliary bishop of Cebu following Pope Francis’ announcement at the Vatican yesterday 6 p.m. Philippine time (12 noon in Rome).
Bishop-elect Oscar Jaime Llaneta Florencio whom Palo Archbishop John 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.
He was advised by the Palo pontiff to focus on his being a new prelate and to prepare for his Episcopal consecration on Sept. 10 at the Palo Cathedral.
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“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,” Du said.
Describing Florencio as very capable, intelligent, very calm, very mature, very humble, person-oriented, and one who listens to people, Du affirmed that the appointment of the 44-year old bishop-elect is Vatican’s recognition of the “credibility of our priests in terms of maturity (which) boosts the standing of our presbyterium here that Palo (Archdiocese) is now producing a bishop.”
Florencio, in a press conference held at the Archbishop’s Residence in Palo (Leyte) remarked, “Firstly I am very grateful to the Lord, and also to the Holy Father, who is the instrument of God, and to Archbishop John for his constant encouragement among us priests to help in having another bishop.”
“More importantly, like what Pope Francis said when he was elected as pope, I feel unworthy of this office, so I ask for the prayers of everyone,” he added.
Immediately following the Holy Father’s pronouncement of such appointment, Du put a silver Episcopal ring and pectoral cross on Florencio in the presence of Archdiocesan clergy gathered at the Gonzagahaus (Bishop’s residence).
Du said the process of choosing a bishop takes a long process, noting, “To be chosen as bishop means he has led a priestly and exemplary life because he has to lead all the people.”
The process of selecting a new bishop is tedious, according to Du. “We bishops will submit three names to the Nuncio, who [in turn] will conduct a thorough investigation on the background of the nominee on his ministry, behaviour and everything, which will take not less than one year” he said.
“When one becomes a bishop he has the fullness of a priesthood and [he] takes care of the governance of the church,” Du said probably after at least three years of serving as auxiliary bishop, which is practically a training ground, Florencio could be assigned to a number of dioceses in the country and in the world that do not have a bishop until now. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCP News)