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Alarcon takes his seat as the 5th Metropolitan Archbishop of Caceres

By Natalie Hazel P. Quimlat, MD


NAGA CITY - Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Charles John Brown has installed Archbishop-elect Rex Andrew Alarcon as the 5th Metropolitan Archbishop and 35th Bishop of Caceres in a solemn eucharistic celebration observed last May 2 at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral St. John the Evangelist Parish, seat of the Archdiocese of Caceres. Alarcon succeeds Carmelite Bishop Rolando Octavius Tria Tirona -the Apostolic Letter from the Holy See read in front of the attending Bishops, priests and lay faithful by Caceres Chancellor Fr. Darius Romualdo. Upon his arrival at the main door of the Cathedral, Alarcon was formally received by Cathedral Parish Priest Fr. Domingo Florida.


Jesus, the Good Shepherd


In his homily, Alarcon expressed his desire to emulate the leadership of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who has laid down his life for his sheep. “Jesus: the source, the origin, the destination of us all.” In addition, he said, “I [wish to] pursue not my personal plans but rather, seek God’s plans; [for] only if we remain in Jesus can we bear fruit. Jesus reminds us that His friends, disciples, brothers, and sisters are those who do the will of God.”


Alarcon also reminded the assembly that each is called to this mission: “To be witnesses of God’s mercy” -himself included as a Servant of Mercy, praying that he “resists merely being a slave of mere human ambition” and not to forget who he [really] is -a humble servant of the Lord. In closing, the newly installed prelate sought prayers for these 3 intentions: a) “to remain close to the Good Shepherd -to have the heart of the Good Shepherd, his vision for the flock to shepherd” b) “the availability, trust and perseverance of Mary, to seek not my own but those entrusted to me”, and lastly c) “the obedience, courage and generosity of Joseph, who faithfully and joyfully [stayed with Mary] and served God [even] in times of difficulty.”


The announcement that Alarcon would succeed Caceres prelate Rolando Tria Tirona was made last February 22, 2024. Described by his predecessor as talented, the Archbishop-elect at the time of the interview, admitted he was surprised at first when he learned of his new appointment. However, his episcopal motto, Servus Tuus Sum (I am Your servant), serves not only as a prayer for the 53-year-old prelate but also as the guiding principle of his Ministry.


5 Years a Bishop


Alarcon, who was appointed as the 4th Bishop of Daet in 2019, celebrated his 5th Episcopal Ordination Anniversary last March on the Feast of St. Joseph. Thankful to the lay faithful and priests of Daet, Alarcon says his greatest take away from his years of service to the Diocese was his experience itself, which he described as “an open, more consultative and participative way of proceeding, of becoming a Church”. In addition, the newly installed prelate said the episcopacy has also enriched him spiritually and his relationship with God -seeing more deeply and faithfully how God provides and “makes all things happen in His time”


The Archdiocese of Caceres has over 90 Parishes and has 6 suffragan Dioceses namely Daet, Libmanan, Legazpi, Sorsogon, Virac, and Masbate. It was established, first as a Diocese in 1595, and was later elevated to an Archdiocese in 1951. Alarcon’s installation and canonical possession of the Archdiocese of Caceres was attended by the Bicol Bishops: Caceres Archbishop-Emeritus Rolando Octavius Tria Tirona, Libmanan Bishop Jose Rojas, Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon, Sorsogon Bishop-Emeritus Arturo Bastes, Sorsogon Bishop Alan Dialogo, Virac Bishop-Emeritus and Apostolic Administrator Manolo de los Santos, Virac Bishop-elect Luisito Occiano, and Masbate Bishop Jose Bantolo. Other guests include Cardinal Jose Advincula, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine Adolfo Tito Yllana, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Vice-President and Pasig Bishop Mylo Vergara, and Lipa Archbishop Gilbert Garcera.

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