A FEW days from now, the next Bishop of the Diocese of Bacolod will be installed. Bishop Patricio Buzon will become the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Bacolod. He will continue the line of the Bishop Casimiro Lladoc, Bishop Manuel Yap, Bishop Antonio Fortich, Bishop Camilo Gregorio, and Bishop Vicente Navarra. He is also the direct line of the Apostles starting with the first Bishop of Rome, St. Peter.

I have experienced the rich heritage of the Catholic Church through the traditions that have been passed from one generation to the other. I have witnessed the ordination of Bishop Vicente Salgado and Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, the installation of Bishop Camilo Gregorio, and of Bishop Vicente Navarra in Kabakalan and in Bacolod. These are momentous events in the history of the Catholic church in Negros.

“What is a bishop? Who is a bishop? And why do we have a bishop?” Allow me to share some notes about the bishop.

“Episcopal Ordination is the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church). The Bishop shares his functions to his priests. He is the chief minister of the sacraments but this is shared to his clergy. The Bishop is conferred with the office of sanctification, the ruling and teaching offices, and the faculty to ordain.

The Bishops of the Catholic Church are given to us by Christ to be our shepherds. Bishops are in charge of a “Diocese” which is (usually) a geographical area made of local communities (parishes) of the faithful. The Bishop is the superior of all the priests (except those belonging to religious orders) in his dioceses, as well as the local spiritual leader of all the faithful of his diocese.

Bishops are always chosen and appointed by the Pope. The process is usually that the Papal Nuncio for the relevant region will provide the names of three candidates to the Congregation for Bishops in the Vatican who advise the Pope. These three candidates are usually chosen in consultation with the outgoing Bishop (unless, of course, the see is vacant because of the death of the incumbent bishop).

All Bishops (except the Pope, Bishop of Rome) are required by Canon Law to tender their resignation if sickness or other grave reasons make them incapable of carrying on their role, or when they reach the age of 75 – as in the case of the late Bishop Antonio Fortich and Bishop Emeritus Vicente Navarra.

All Bishops are also required to submit a quinquennial report to the Pope (ie, every five years) reporting on their diocese and any problems that may have arisen in their diocese or difficulties the faithful are facing. At about the time that this quinquennial report is required, the Bishops of the region make their visit ad limina Apostolorum where they travel to Rome to pray before the Tomb of St. Peter and to meet individually with the Holy Father to ensure he is kept aware of the state of the Church throughout the world.

So, as we usher in the new pastor of the Diocese of Bacolod, we also thank Bishop Emeritus Vicente Navarra.

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St. Ezekiel Moreno; St. Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Pedro Calungsod; Pope St. John Paul II; Mons. John Liu and Su; Fr. Cornelio Moral, OAR; Manoy Bill, and Sir Faraon Lopez. Pray for us.