New Basilan bishop urged: ‘Have courage, be strong’

New Basilan bishop urged: ‘Have courage, be strong’

Archbishop of Zamboanga Romulo T. Dela Cruz lays his hands on the head of Bishop Leo M. Dalmao, CMF, the first Filipino Claretian bishop and the fourth bishop of the Prelature of Isabela in Basilan, during the ceremony held at the Sta. Isabel de Portugal Cathedral in Isabela City, Basilan, May 24. BRENDA MILAN

By John Frances C. Fuentes

May 25, 2019

Isabela, Basilan

Bishop Leo M. Dalmao, who was ordained the fourth bishop of the Prelature of Isabela in Basilan yesterday, received strong words of encouragement from Archbishop of Ozamiz Martin Jumoad, his predecessor.

“People depend on you. Have courage and be strong,” Jumoad told the first Filipino Claretian to be ordained bishop, in a ceremony held at the Sta. Isabel de Portugal Cathedral in this city.

“Bp. Leo, trust your priests,” added the prelate, saying that the new bishop should love the priests of Basilan even if they commit mistakes.

Archbishop of Zamboanga Romulo Dela Cruz served as principal consecrator along with Archbishop of Davao and CBCP President Romulo Valles and Jumoad.

‘Love your bishop’

Jumoad also had a message to the faithful of Basilan.

“Love your bishop and he will love you,” he said.

Jumoad added: “Allow him to serve you in the breaking of the bread, the sacrament of confession, in the washing of the feet.”

The former shepherd of the prelature also stressed the need to champion unity among all peoples of faith, saying Dalmao “should be friendly to all sectors and promote interreligious dialogue,” especially with the Muslim brethren.

Born on December 1, 1969, Dalmao entered the Claretian Congregation in 1986 and studied AB Philosophy at Claret Formation Center, now called St. Anthony Mary Claret College.

Rome assignment

He had his first profession of vows on May 3, 1992 in Bungiao, Zamboanga City.

From 1992 to 1997, Dalmao also studied theology at Loyola School of Theology.

He had his perpetual profession of vows on July 16, 1996 and priestly ordination on May 31, 1997.

His first assignment was as project coordinator for Sama-Bajau which then became the Claret Sama Bajau Foundation, Inc. which caters to the Sama Bajaus in Basilan.

Dalmao was the General Consultor and General Prefect of Formation of the Claretians in Rome prior to his appointment as Bishop of Basilan on March 25, 2019.