Bishop-elect to assume leadership of Baguio diocese in September

Bishop-elect to assume leadership of Baguio diocese in September

Bishop-elect Rafael Cruz of Baguio during Mass for the CBCP’s annual retreat at the Malaybalay Cathedral on July 1, 2024. CBCP NEWS

By CBCP News

July 3, 2024

Malaybalay City

Baguio’s new Catholic bishop will be ordained to the episcopate and assume his new office in September.

Bishop-elect Rafael Cruz’s episcopal ordination is set to take place at the St. John the Evangelist Cathedral at 9:00 a.m. on Sept. 7.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan will serve as the principal consecrator in a ceremony that is expected to be attended by several bishops including papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown.

Cruz is currently in Malaybalay City for the bishops’ annual retreat at the Abbey of Transfiguration, which started on July 2. He will also attend the CBCP’s 128th plenary assembly in Cagayan de Oro City on July 6 to 8.

Pope Francis on June 20 appointed him to fill the vacant diocese. He will succeed then-Bishop Victor Bendico, who has been the archbishop of Capiz since May 2023.

Nearly two weeks after his appointment, the bishop-elect admitted it has not fully sunk in that he will be taking a new role he never imagined.

“It’s a very humbling experience but I still believe that God will not leave me alone because He called me to this ministry,” Cruz said.

“I saw my weaknesses more, and seeing them made me realize how much I need the grace of God,” he added.

Cruz will take over his new ministry as Baguio bishop on Sept. 17. He will be installed by Archbishop Brown at 8:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Atonement.

Ordained priest for the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese in 1985, he currently heads the Parish of St. Ildephonse in Malasiqui, Pangasinan.

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