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Holy Father appoints new Philippines archbishop

By Radio Veritas Asia News


Pope Francis, on Thursday, February  22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, publicly announced the appointment of Fr. Rex Andrew C. Alarcon as the new archbishop of the Archdiocese of Caceres in the Bicol region, Philippines.


The archdiocese celebrated the news in a social media post.


Alarcon becomes the fifth archbishop of Caceres, which is also his home diocese.


He was the Philippines’ youngest bishop when he was ordained in 2019.


Alarcon, presently serving as the bishop of Daet, succeeds Archbishop Rolando Octavus Tria Tirona, a native of Sampaloc, Manila,  who retired at the age of 77.  Tirona has led the archdiocese since November 2012.


Alarcon was born on August 6, 1970, in Daet, the provincial capital of Camarines Norte.


The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) News said that after completing his high school education and philosophy courses at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary in Naga, he studied theology at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Central Seminary in Manila.


On November 9, 1996, Alarcon became a priest for the Archdiocese of Caceres, according to the UST’s Varsitarian publication.


Then he became an assistant parish priest at St. John the Evangelist in Naga City.  After one year and nearly three years, he served as a private secretary to then-archbishop Leonardo Legaspi. O.P., the first Filipino UST rector.


Alarcon, 53, also served as director of the Naga Parochial School and the Commission on Evangelization of the Archdiocese of Caceres. He has a licentiate in Church history, which he obtained from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 2001.


Before becoming a bishop, he was the leader of the Bicol Association of Catholic Schools and served as president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).


On January 2, 2019, the Pope appointed him as Bishop of Daet. He received ordination to the episcopate on March 19 of that year.


His new role as archbishop entails meeting with the suffragan bishops from the dioceses of the Caceres archdiocese, which includes Daet, Legazpi, Libmanan, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Virac. Alarcon is currently the chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Youth.


The Bicol Region is popular for devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, a 313-year-old image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is known for miracles among devotees. Every September, people commemorate her feast.


The region has the highest percentage of Catholics, at 5.67 million, or 93.5% of total residents, according to the 2020 Census of Population and Housing.

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