Archbishop Palma hopes for another auxiliary bishop

Archbishop Palma hopes for another auxiliary bishop

Archbishop Jose Palma (right) welcomes his auxiliary bishop Midyphil Billones to Cebu on Thursday, Sept. 26. PHOTO FROM AUGUSTINIAN PROVINCE OF STO. NIÑO DE CEBU FACEBOOK PAGE

By CBCP News

September 26, 2019

Cebu City, Philippines

The head of Cebu’s Roman Catholic Church hopes that another auxiliary bishop would be assigned in the country’s largest archdiocese.

Archbishop Jose Palma said that a second assistant bishop would help his busy workload in an archdiocese with nearly five million Catholic population in more than 160 parishes.

The archbishop made the statement in his homily during the welcome Mass for Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral on Thursday.

“For the moment, let’s join our hearts and voices in thanking the Lord for the gift of an auxiliary bishop even as we wait for another one in the near future,” he said.

Bishop Billones formally assumed his post a month after his episcopal ordination at the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral in Iloilo City.

Cebu used to have two assistant bishops until they were both appointed to new dioceses early this year.

Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio was named military bishop last March, while Bishop Dennis Villarojo now heads the Diocese of Malolos.

In July, Pope Francis named Billones, who was then the rector of St. Joseph Seminary in Iloilo City, as auxiliary bishop of Cebu.

Billones said he was humbled for his new mission in Cebu, which will take the spotlight in the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

The 50-year-old bishop said he will do everything to assist Palma in serving the local Church and its people, especially “the poor and those in the periphery”.

Billones was recently in Rome for the annual formation course for new bishops, where they also had an audience with the Pope Francis.

“The Holy Father gave us a marching order to be close to the people, to be close to the priests, to serve them with great love,” he said.