Bishop of the people-A A +A
Questions that Matter
Thursday, January 24, 2013
BISHOP Vicente Navarra turned 74 last January 22. The Good Bishop was appointed as Bishop of Bacolod in 2001 and replaced Bishop Camilo Gregorio. I could remember how Bishop Emeritus Antonio Fortich broke the news to the diocese. He personally called the school heads of Catholic schools and told them of the appointment of the new Bishop. From then on, the faithful of the diocese of Bacolod loved Bishop Navarra.
I entered the seminary with Bishop Fortich as the bishop and he was succeeded by Bishop Gregorio. I have served these two as altar server in several of their Episcopal Masses. It was in my second year of Philosophy studies when Bishop Navarra was appointed as the first bishop of the newly created Diocese of Kabankalan. I was a member of the seminary choir who sang in his installation. Personally, I saw the holiness of the good bishop there and then. One could feel his holiness through the aura that he emits. It was like a feeling when one sees the great Pope John Paul II. Here comes a man who would continue the legacy of the works of Bishop Fortich on social action. After his ordination, we had casual contacts with the Bishop. He says Mass at the seminary and that’s how I knew of him.
Soon, he was appointed by Rome to become the apostolic administrator after Bishop Camillo. There he worked well with the priests and laity of both dioceses. Here, one could see how the bishop works for the common good. He would often listen to visitors and give his fatherly advice to them. One could feel blessed after a talk with the bishop. The blessings we get from meeting the bishop is a product of the bishop’s prayerfulness.
In 2001, he was formally installed as the 5th Bishop of the Diocese of Bacolod. He brought with him his motto of “Adsum”. With that he became a bishop of the people. He listened to them; together with the clergy of the diocese, they spoke of the plight of the people, especially the poor.
The good bishop followed the footprints left behind by Bishop Fortich. He became the conscience of the people. He became a staunch opponent of the government, especially on issues of social concern. He first took a bold step against Erap. The diocese stirred the hornet’s nest by organizing a big rally to ask Erap to step down and regain his dignity as a person. The other dioceses in the country followed what the diocese had started and on the feast of the patron of the Diocese, Erap stepped down from his post. It was a triumphant call of the church with Bishop Navarra leading the people of the Diocese of Bacolod.
There was also a time where the Bishop called the people of Bacolod to be vigilant and watchful of the graft and corrupt acts of the people of GMA. A prayer rally was organized together with other denominations of faith to despise the corruption under the Arroyo administration. The diocese had its eyes prying on the people of Gloria.
Today, the bishop tells us that he is not against the persons who are pro-RH but he is against the collective act of passing the law. He condemns the law but he forgives the people who were misled to pass the law. He reminds them of their ethics and their morals. He prays for them. Here, once more we see the manifestation of how our bishop is. He is really a man of prayer. As we move on, we have to be in union with the actions and movement of the Church as to her call against the implementation of the RH Law and the passage of the DEATH Bills. I believe that the good bishop will continue to guide us in prayer and in action.
We pray for our dear bishop that he will be given more strength and courage to bring us to better position as we fight the implementation of the RH law. Happy Birthday, dear bishop.
I also want to greet belated Happy 89th birthday to Ms. Gloria Tajanlangit who is considered as the 2nd mother of my wife, Judy.
Happy anniversary to my in-laws, Tatay Eddie and Nanay Susa Balayo. May you have more blissful years together.
St. Ezekiel Moreno, Sts. Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod, Blessed Pope John Paul II and Sir Faraon Lopez, Mommy and daddy, pray for us.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 24, 2013.