THE Archdiocese of Cebu will have a second auxiliary bishop to help in its pastoral and administrative needs.
This was announced by Archbishop Jose Palma after the liturgical reception and welcome mass for the newly assigned Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in Cebu City on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019.
“During his (Billones) ordination, I told him ‘would you like me to announce that another one is coming?’ He said, ‘Yes, please announce.’ The names have been proposed. But expect that, soon, another one will be assigned in Cebu.
We are very thankful that we will be given another auxiliary bishop,” Palma told reporters after the mass.
The roles of an auxiliary bishop may differ depending on the diocese; in general, auxiliary bishops may assist with confirmations, baptisms, ordinations and special masses, or even in the regional governance of a particular part of the diocese, according to Detroit Catholic, the Archdiocese of Detroit’s online news portal.
Billones, a priest from Jaro, Iloilo City, was appointed by Pope Francis as Cebu’s auxiliary bishop after Palma’s lone auxiliary bishop, Dennis Villarojo, was named last May as the fifth bishop of Malolos in Luzon.
Billones was also appointed moderator of the team of pastors in the National Shrine of Saint Joseph in Mandaue City.
Palma said the candidates for the second auxiliary bishop have already been proposed to the Vatican for evaluation. He said he is hoping that the new auxiliary bishop will be a Cebuano priest.
The prelate said an archdiocese usually has three auxiliary bishops, but the Holy See may not grant this. Billones, ordained as bishop last Aug. 27, said he is excited to learn from the Cebuanos.
He also wants to help in improving the laity and liturgy as the celebration for the 500th year of Christianity in in 2021 draws near. The bishop said he will also consult with Palma about the prelate’s plans for the archdiocese.
“I hope to work closely with the laity and I believe in the empowerment of the laity... I hope to learn from them as we work side by side,” Billones said.
Palma expressed his confidence in Billones and he trust the latter’s abilities. “I would say he is a very brilliant and capable bishop,” he said, adding that the “pastoral programs could be attended more personally and efficiently” by Billones, who is relatively young.
The welcome mass was attended by around 80 priests and bishops from Cebu and Iloilo. In his homily, Palma said Billones’s assignment in Cebu is timely.
“What a beautiful place to be assigned in, what a beautiful church to serve with and what a beautiful time to be here as, for soon, we will celebrate the 500th year of Christianity in Cebu,” Palma said.
After the mass, Billones told the faithful that his knowledge in the Cebuano language is limited but he considers his assignment in Cebu as a “homecoming.” “Dili man gi-transfer si Dodong.
Nipauli lang si Dodong sa Cebu (Dodong was not transferred here. Dodong returns home in Cebu),” he said, adding that his nickname is popularly used by older people in addressing a young Cebuano. (WBS)