Pandemic didn’t stop new bishop’s ordination

Pandemic didn’t stop new bishop’s ordination

Bishop Charlie Inzon was ordained in an empty cathedral on Thursday, but watched online by family and friends. SCREENSHOT/OMI PHILIPPINES FACEBOOK PAGE

By CBCP News

May 21, 2020

Cotabato City

The coronavirus pandemic did not stop his consecration to the episcopacy.

In a nearly empty church, Charlie Inzon was ordained bishop by Archbishop Angelito Lampon of Cotabato on Thursday, but live streaming allowed his family, friends, and the local community to join virtually.

Due to strict quarantine protocols, participation in the Mass at the city’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral was very limited.

The government only allows a maximum of 10 people to attend religious services in areas under general community quarantine such as Cotabato.

The small congregation included retired Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan, 3 priests, and a few choir members.

While the pews were almost empty, Inzon said he knew many friends and loved ones would be watching the livestream and praying from afar.

He said the gathering may be “rare and unprecedented” but its simplicity still made “the Lord at the center of the celebration”.

“(Nothing) can stop us from celebrating God’s gift and grace,” Inzon said.

During the homily, Cardinal Quevedo said a bishop has to be a “model” of outstanding faith and good morals.

As shepherd, a bishop is also called “to be holy” because “he is called to guide his people to holiness”.

“This task is truly challenging,” Quevedo said, adding that a bishop must also lead his flock “to the path of truth and justice”.

Pope Francis has appointed Inzon on April 4 as the new and sixth prelate of the apostolic vicariate of Jolo, the capital of Sulu province in southern Philippines.

Upon his appointment, the 54-year-old bishop was serving as the provincial superior of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the country.

He succeeded Archbishop Lampon who was transferred to the Archdiocese of Cotabato in late 2018.

An apostolic vicariate is a local Church in missionary regions which do not have a diocese. Its administration is assigned to the apostolic vicar who governs it in the name of the pope.

A native of Sorsogon province, Inzon entered the OMI in 1982 and made his perpetual profession on Sept. 8, 1990.

He studied Philosophy at Notre Dame University in Cotabato City and Theology at the Loyola School of Theology (LST) of the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU).

He was ordained a priest on April 24, 1993 in Coloocan City.

The bishop also holds a master’s degree in theology from LST and a doctorate in psychology from the ADMU.

In the days leading up to the ordination, he said, “I rejoice in the mercy of God and trust in his assurance of strength and consolation as I take up this ministry of service in the Church in the Vicariate of Jolo”.

Inzon will be formally installed as Jolo prelate in the vicariate’s Mt. Carmel Cathedral on May 28.