Palma: 2 new dioceses in 2024, oratio imperata for rain ‘soon’

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma. (File photo)
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma. (File photo)

CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma has announced that the two proposed new dioceses in Cebu might be established this year.

The prelate also announced the issuance of an oratio imperata for rain amid the scorching heat brought about by the prevailing El Niño.

“Most probably the ‘Sugbuswak’ will happen this year 2024. There might already be a decree from Rome that the two daughters (dioceses) now be given birth,” Palma said in a press conference held at the Pope John 23rd Seminary on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

“Sugbuswak,” a combination of the words “Sugbu,” the Cebuano name for Cebu; “sugwak,” meaning to spurt out, like the blood and water coming from Christ’s pierced side, and “buswak,” meaning to bloom, is the prelate’s term for the proposal to divide the largest archdiocese in the Philippines, the Archdiocese of Cebu, for better pastoral care.

Palma said that part of their preparations involves presenting the integrity of the new dioceses to the incoming bishops. He said those pieces of land or properties of the church that were questionable should be traced and have their necessary documentation.

“When the new bishop comes, we will be telling him: Your excellency, this is your whole diocese including these properties with the documents,” Palma said.

Palma said it is all about securing all the necessary documents and retrieving those that must have been lost along the way.

On Feb. 24, 2023, Palma said the proposal, once endorsed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), would be forwarded to Rome for further approval of any decision made by the Archdiocese.

He also said earlier that when the Archdiocese presents the proposal to Rome, “it should be in a way that the many aspects of the division should be already well prepared,” and that the Archdiocese must have an “adequate explanation” and “reason for the division.”

Oratio Imperata for rain

Meanwhile, Palma also announced that the Archdiocese would issue an oratio imperata, a mandatory prayer for rain.

Palma said he would have wanted to get an instruction from the national body, but in the absence of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Pablo Virgilio David, Cebu would issue an oratio imperata.

Palma said David is currently out of town.

“Yes, expect an oratio imperata to be recited in Cebu soon,” Palma said.

Palma said oratio imperata is one of the customs of the church in a form of prayer which implores God’s blessing, in the context of a rising heat index, the blessing for rain.

Asked for his opinion on the ongoing squabble between the Metropolitan Cebu Water District and the Cebu City Government for control of the MCWD board, Palma said he would include it in the oratio imperata, praying for those in positions to respond to pressing needs. / AML

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