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Outgoing bishop leaves with ‘mixed feelings’


ARCHBISHOP-elect Rex Andrew Alarcon of Caceres has mixed emotions as prepares to take over a much larger ecclesiastical territory.

“Not our will, but the will of the Lord,” he said. “But it’s a mixed feeling of gratitude and sadness that I receive such an appointment.”

Three days after his appointment as archbishop, Alarcon celebrated his first public Mass at the Daet Cathedral on Sunday, February 25.

As the shepherd of Daet for only around four years, the bishop admitted that he feels he has yet to fully serve his ministry in the diocese.

When he took over the diocese in 2019, Alarcon said he thought it was going to be an assignment “for life”.

“I did not expect this because we really don’t aspire for such a position,” he further said in his homily.

On Aug. 31, 2024, the diocese will celebrate its 50th foundation anniversary.

The bishop said it saddens him that he will leave the diocese soon, just ahead of its golden jubilee celebration.

“But we pray to the Lord,” he said. “Certainly, the Lord does not deceive us… His love is such that He can’t do anything against us. He cannot but love us,” Alarcon added.

Pope Francis on February 22 named Alarcon as the successor of Archbishop Emeritus Rolando Tria Tirona, 77, who served the Caceres archdiocese for about 11 years.

Caceres is one of the oldest dioceses in the Philippines. It is also the center of devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, which is one of the largest Marian devotions in Asia.

Alarcon’s appointment also came about six months before the centenary of the canonical coronation of the image of the patroness of Bicol on Sept. 20.

As “metropolitan see”, the archdiocese comprises the Bicol region with the dioceses of Legazpi, Sorsogon, Virac, Masbate, Daet and Libmanan as its suffragans.

It also directly supervises 93 parishes, with a total Catholic population of approximately 1.5 million as of 2017.

(Suffragans are bishops who assist and work under the authority of a higher-ranking bishop, often referred to as the diocesan or metropolitan bishop. They help oversee specific regions or areas within a larger ecclesiastical jurisdiction. – editor)


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