Youngest bishop in PH ordained, installed

Youngest bishop in PH ordained, installed

Bishop Rex Andre Alarcon receives the pastoral staff during his episcopal ordination at the Naga Cathedral, March 19. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOJO PRIETO/ARCHDIOCESE OF CACERES

By Roy Lagarde

March 20, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon went back to his hometown in Daet, Camarines Norte on Wednesday, not for a short visit, but to assume a vacant seat.

In a ceremony, the Daet diocese welcomed its fourth bishop, as well as the youngest in the Philippines.

Alarcon will now lead more than half-a-million Catholics in 30 parishes that reside in Camarines Norte province.

The installation took place before around 2,000 people at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity.

“I want to accompany you. May we walk together in the spirit of synodality in the heart of the Church,” Alarcon told the congregation.

The installation took place a day after his episcopal ordination held at the St. John the Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral in Naga City.

Around a dozen bishops attended the ceremony led by Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, and Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia.

Top local and national government leaders were also in attendance led by Vice President Leni Robredo.

Pope Francis appointed Alarcon as the bishop of Daet on Jan. 2.

He succeeded Archbishop Gilbert Garcera who was transferred to the Archdiocese of Lipa in February 2017.

After his theology studies at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Alarcon was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Caceres in 1996.

In 2001, he obtained his licentiate in Church history at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy.

Since 2013, he has held the office of superintendent of the Catholic schools of Caceres, member of the college of consultors, and spokesman of the archdiocese.

At 48, Alarcon is the youngest member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

There are two Filipino bishops younger than Alarcon but they are based in other countries. They are Bishop Ryan Jimenez, 47, of Chalan Kanoa in Saipan, and Bishop Pedro Baquero, 48, of Kerema in Papa New Guinea.