New military bishop assumes post

New military bishop assumes post

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, hands the crosier to Military Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio as Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila looks on during the installation ceremony held at St. Ignacious de Loyola Cathedral, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on April 3. SCREENSHOT/RADIO VERITAS

By CBCP News

April 3, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio, the former auxiliary bishop of Cebu, was installed as the new head of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines April 3.

The crowd who attended the Mass in St. Ignacius de Loyola Cathedral at Camp Aguinaldo burst into cheers as the new bishop formally assumed his post.

He was then welcomed by officials of the Department of Defence, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine National Police.

Concelebrants of the Mass included Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, who delivered the homily.

Cardinal Tagle reminded Florencio that bishops must be at the service of God, and not power or personal gains.

“Yes, we need power but we need to ask from whom does the power come?” he said. “The power of Jesus enables others to serve.”

“That power must be used to make disciples of all nations to enable people to work for the common good,” Cardinal Tagle added.

Also in attendance were retired Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cobatato and about 30 members of the bishops’ conference, led by its president Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao.

The installation ceremony also coincided with Florencio’s 29th priesthood anniversary.

Pope Francis on March 2 named Florencio, 53, to head the military diocese, which has been “sede vacante” for nearly two years following the death of Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak.

In June 2017, the prelate was appointed as the concurrent apostolic administrator of the military diocese.

In his message, Florencio said that heading the military diocese was something he never imagined.

“This is quiet a big responsibility for me,” Florencio said.

“Please continue to pray for me and the military chaplains that we may able to do the task entrusted to us by the church, by the government and above all by our Lord, Jesus Christ, who is the shepherd himself,” he said.

As military ordinary, Florencio is responsible for the pastoral care of Catholics serving in the country’s military, police, coast guard units and prison service.