Bishop Antonio takes possession of northern diocese

Bishop Antonio takes possession of northern diocese

Crowd surrounds Bishop David William Antonio after his installation at the St. Michael Cathedral as the head of the Diocese of Ilagan, Feb. 12, 2019. BENIGNO JOSE CARAG

By Roy Lagarde

February 15, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Standing before a huge crowd, Bishop David William Antonio vowed “to abandon his own good for the sake of his flock” as he took the helm of the Diocese of Ilagan.

Antonio was installed bishop of Ilagan in Isabela province during a Mass at the Saint Michael Cathedral on Feb. 12.

More than 3,000 Catholics and church officials gathered to welcome Antonio, 55, who asked for prayers as he began his new ministry.

“I wish to be a shepherd who is not afraid in taking up the cross for the sake of the sheep,” Antonio said.

At one part of his message, he reiterated his commitment to working with the people in their collective vision for “a renewed church”.

“I am with you as one who serves,” he said.

Bishops from throughout the country traveled to Ilagan for the two-hour Mass with retired Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato as homilist.

Archbishop Giordano Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, also traveled from his office in Manila to attend the celebration.

The cardinal told congregants that “when William was ordained he was configured to Christ, head and shepherd of the Church”.

“What does he do and how is he going to do this? In the same way Jesus was… the one who came not to be served but to serve,” he said.

Quevedo, who was then Archbishop of Nueva Segovia, ordained Antonio to priesthood in 1988.

Appointed by Pope Francis in November 2018, Antonio is the fifth bishop of Ilagan, succeeding Bishop Joseph Nacua who resigned for health reasons in 2017.

He was first named Auxiliary Bishop of Nueva Segovia in 2011, making him Pope Benedict XVI’s last appointee to the episcopate in the Philippines before he resigned in 2013.

Antonio was also serving as administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose in Occidental Mindoro when Pope Francis assigned him to Ilagan.

In the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, he is the current chairman of the Commission on Vocations. WITH REPORTS FROM BENIGNO JOSE CARAG