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Most Rev. Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, D.D.

5th Archbishop of Caceres

Homily during Installation and Canonical Possession (part 1)

Metropolitan Cathedral of Caceres

Pilgrim City of Naga

May 2, 2024 9:00 a.m.


Five years ago, on the Feast of St. Joseph, I received the grace of the Episcopal Office from the hand of our predecessor, Most Rev. Rolando Tria-Tirona. I said, I felt taller because of the mitre. And the staff and the ring expanded, so to speak, my physical and official boundaries. But truth to tell, as my brother Bishops would attest, one only becomes more conscious of one’s smallness. And today, before the Lord and with your presence, I feel smaller. And this beautiful yet towering Cathedra makes me feel small. A reminder that the office, the mission is greater than myself.


His Eminence Jose Cardinal Advincula (The Cardinal-Archbishop of Manila), His Excellency Most Rev. Charles John Brown (Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines), His Excellency Most Rev. Adolfo Tito Yllana (Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine), His Excellency, Most Rev. Rolando J. Tria-Tirona, OCD (Our Predecessor).

His Excellency Most Rev. Mylo Vergara (Vice President of CBCP), Their Excellencies, the Most Rev. Brother Bishops, Dear Brother Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Region of Caceres .

Reverend Monsignori and Fathers from different Dioceses, Consecrated Men and Women, The Clergy and Faithful of Daet, The Clergy, Consecrated Men and Women, the Lay Faithful of Caceres.

Honorable Governor of Camarines Sur Gov. Vincenzo Luigi Villafuerte, Mayor Nelson Legacion, Honorable Mayors of the different Muncipalities of Camarines Sur, Government Officials (Provincial, Municipal and Barangay Officials).

The Council of the Laity of Caceres, the different Ministries, Religious Organizations and Associations, Friends, Relatives, Benefactors, esteemed Guests, and of Course, the Youth.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, All. Thank you for being here today to praying for me, joining me in thanksgiving for the grace of episcopal service. You all took time and spared effort to be with us today. Yesterday people waited patiently along the streets, in Gainza, at the Basilica and Cathedral and at the Major Seminary. It is a great consolation and encouragement. I am grateful for all the expressions of gratitude, support, assistance, encouragement, joy that you have expressed since the announcement of the new appointment.

All these have brought me mixed feelings. Yet beyond all, what I have is gratitude and trust to the Good Shepherd and Our Lady.

We are gathered before the Lord’s table to thank the Father, and through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the source and origin and the destination of all.

I humbly thank the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for the trust he has bestowed upon me, by entrusting this Office to this humble servant of the Lord. He is represented today by our Apostolic Nuncio, who installed me into this new office.

With you, dear brothers and sisters, we express our heartfelt gratitude to Archbishop Rolando Joven Tria-Tirona for giving himself to Caceres for the last 12 years. Archbishop Roly, I know, we cannot thank you enough. but please do accept our sincere gratitude for the pastoral service you rendered, reminding us that we ‘all belong to Christ’. (Christi Sumus)

I thank you dear Brother Bishops for your presence and solidarity. I am aware that May 1 and 2 are fiesta days in our ecclesiastical territories, but you have come today. I sincerely appreciate your solidarity and fraternal support.

Thank you to the clergy and faithful of Daet. You have enriched me in many ways. We journeyed together through pandemic time. And thanks be to God we survived, and we discovered ‘God does not abandon us.’ And we all look forward to the Golden Jubilee celebration of the diocese.

Thank you to the clergy and faithful of Caceres. The very warm welcome you accorded me was truly overwhelming. The joy and excitement are energizing as they are humbling.

Gratitude is my first intention and act. Eucharistia. And for this I have been a priest -to offer the Eucharist – Thanksgiving to God. The Psalm 88 says: ‘In aeterno misericordias Domini cantabo”. Forever I will sing the mercies of God. (Psalm 88:2)

Undeserved Grace of Service

I had been repeatedly asked, what are your plans. I also have been saying –none yet. I pray, and kindly help me do so, dear brothers and sisters, that I may pursue not my personal plans but rather seek God’s.

Jesus reminds us: my friend, my disciples, ‘my brothers and sisters are those who do the will of my Father’. (cf. Matthew 12:50) As we continue to discover the power in our hands –due to the further discoveries of science, and technology, may we always be led to Him from whose hand these human powers emanate. And in humility pay homage to their

Source, and use these very powers for the good of all and for the service of those in need. We are called to witness to God’s power, especially mercy in a digital and technologically advancing world. Please pray, Brothers and Sisters, that I may be a servant of his mercy, and resist becoming a slave of mere human ambition.

Thus, I humbly recognize that this new ministry is not a reward due to merit, but a responsibility given in mercy. And again, if there is an act that I need to do, is to first thank God for this undeserved grace, the grace of service through the sacred orders, which even at the first ordination in the diaconate, I received because the Church asked that I be ordained.

This is a call to proclaim God’s love and mercy, in humility. You must have heard the parable of the donkey. On Jesus entry to Jerusalem he rode a donkey. When the people began shouting: “alleluia, hail to the King!” The donkey thought the people were cheering for him. He forgot, he is simply the humble donkey whom Jesus chose to ride on.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, please help me pray that I may not forget who I am; that I am a mere servant, who must always make himself available, at anytime, to be ridden by Jesus, the Master –for there is no other Master, as Matthew tells us in today’s Gospel.

So that today, it is Jesus, the Good Shepherd whom we celebrate and who offers this thanksgiving with us. Beyond than the apparent pomp, is the Lord, who stooped down to embrace the Cross for our sake.

I entered the boundaries of the diocese, not as a King who have just waged war victoriously, and not without booty, –but as an undeserving servant called to duty, called to step up towards a heavier cross, but nevertheless the Cross of Jesus.

The words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, is an apt reminder: “By the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.” (Romans 12:3-8)

Today, as a community of faith, we offer thanksgiving for the gift of the local church of Caceres and ministry. The kind gestures, assurances of prayers, support, varied efforts you have expended for this occasions, are signs of our oneness as a Church. St. Paul in the same letter says: “For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.” And whatever gift we have received, may we use it as the Lord has intended it to be. (Romans 12:4-6)

(To be continued…)


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