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Prayers and teamwork called for by Virac Bishop-elect Occiano for new appointment

By Natalie Hazel P. Quimlat, M.D.

Virac Bishop-elect Luisito Occiano is set to be ordained as a Bishop on June 21, Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, and installed as the 3rd Bishop of Virac on June 26. In preparation for these solemn occasions, a 9-day prayer for the consecration of the Bishop-elect is to be observed. According to Occiano, “Prayer life is very important in a Bishop’s life.” In addition, Occiano seeks for a “happy, healthy and holy [life], as a priest [and as a Bishop]”.

To Proclaim with Joy

In his interview with Ms. Myrna Bermudo for the Sunday radio program, Manindugan, the Bishop-elect discussed the changes he will encounter and the roles and responsibilities he will have as he takes on his new appointment in the Kingly, Prophetic and Priestly Mission of Christ. Occiano’s chosen motto: “Cum Gaudio Praedicare”, i.e., to proclaim with joy proves timely as Virac is also known as a “happy island”. According to Occiano, if one proclaims, teaches and shares Christ, then one will find joy for “Christ is the fullness of joy”. In addition, the Bishop-elect said, “If we are doing what is good and what is right, [then] our joy will be complete”. Occiano hopes that his chosen motto will serve as a guide that will indeed bring joy by sharing the Good News. Closing the interview, Occiano called for solidarity and collaboration for his new appointment. He said, “This is a time when many are in confusion, many are lost and many find difficulties in life. May [our joint efforts] bring goodness and [further deepen one’s life in the Catholic faith]”.

The Diocese of Virac was established as a suffragan Diocese of the Archdiocese of Caceres in 1974 with the late Bishop Jose Sorra as its first Bishop. Currently, it has 50 parishes and 13 mission churches with about 70 priests active in the ministry. Occiano succeeds Virac Bishop Emeritus Manolo de los Santos, who has been the prelate of Virac for almost 30 years. Caceres Archbishop Emeritus Rolando Tria Tirona will ordain Occiano into the episcopacy come June 21. With Tirona are Caceres Archbishop Rex Andrew Alarcon and Apostolic Nuncio to Israel Adolfo Tito Yllana as co-consecrators. Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles John Brown is said to grace the aforementioned solemn occasion.


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