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Youth ministry a priority for youngest Pinoy bishop

Youth ministry a priority for youngest Pinoy bishop

Bishop Jose Rapadas III celebrates his first Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral after being installed as the new head of the Diocese of Iligan on Sept. 5. PHOTO FROM THE DIOCESE OF DIGOS

By Roy Lagarde

September 6, 2019

Manila, Philippines

The country’s youngest bishop has said that the youth ministry will be at the heart of his pastoral agenda in his diocese in the southern Philippines.

At his installation Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Iligan City on Thursday, Bishop Jose Rapadas III said that “now, more than ever, the youth need guidance and animation”.

“I hope to use our resources and energy as a diocese to make the youth find their meaning, their role, their mission in our ecclesial communities,” he said.

Pope Francis appointed Rapadas, 47, previously a priest in the Diocese of Ipil, as the fifth bishop of Iligan last June. He replaced Bishop Elenito Galido who died in December 2017.

His installation came around two weeks after his episcopal ordination at the St. Joseph Cathedral in Ipil.

For nearly two years as vacant see, the diocese has been under the care of Bishop Severo Caermare of Dipolog as apostolic administrator.

Rapadas told the packed cathedral that he was humbled to have been chosen by the Pope for his new role, but he was very aware of the challenges that come with it.

“Whatever I do will always be lacking but I am confident that it is God who will fill up whatever is inadequate in my ministry,” he said.

The new bishop said he was looking forward to getting to know the people in the diocese, which covers the whole province of Lanao del Norte.

Beyond dialogue, he pledged for a “listening Church” and maintain a “participatory spirit among our communities”.

Listening, he said, has been a significant aspect of his 20-year priestly ministry, 12 years of which he spent as a seminary formator.

“I think the Lord has plans for that… and that I may be able to use that gift in listening to understand first and then seek to be understood,” he said.

“We need to allow the lay leaders to participate in the life and mission of the church,” Rapadas stressed.

Further laying out his priorities, the prelate said he will also focus on promoting peace, interreligious dialogue, environment protection, and social justice.

“My vision is a participatory Church, allowing even the ordinary people in the barrios to participate in the leadership, mission and life of the Church,” he said. CBCPNEWS