Philippines now with 9 vacant sees

MANILA. The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church).
MANILA. The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church).Photo from Wikimedia Commons

ON THE heels of the death of Pagadian Bishop Ronald Lunas last January 2, 2024, there are now nine vacant sees in the Philippines.

Last year alone, seven dioceses became vacant: Baguio, Balanga, Catarman, Gumaca, Ipil, San Pablo, and Tarlac.

Having been vacant the longest is Alaminos, which has been without a bishop since 2019.

Aside from Pagadian (Lunas), having lost their prelates due to their deaths are Gumaca (Victor Ocampo) and Tarlac (Enrique Macaraeg).

The vacancies happened in Catarman and San Pablo after their respective bishops, Emmanuel Trance and Buenaventura Famadico, resigned from their posts.

The bishops of Alaminos (Ricardo Baccay), Baguio (Victor Bendico), Balanga (Ruperto Santos), and Ipil (Julius Tonel), meanwhile, vacated their posts after being appointed to other dioceses/archdioceses.

With nine dioceses vacant, Ozamiz Archbishop Martin Jumoad urged the Filipino faithful on Friday, January 5, 2024, to pray for the appointment of the new bishops for the nine sede vacante.

"We have to pray and ask the Lord for guidance so Pope Francis can choose the priests to be assigned in the vacant sees," said Jumoad.

On Thursday, January 4, Jumoad was designated as the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Pagadian after the death of Lunas.

This means that Jumoad will serve as the caretaker for the diocese until a new bishop is appointed. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)

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