Pope names new Baguio bishop

BAGUIO. Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Baguio, Rev. Fr. Roland P. Buyagan (right), announces during the Holy Mass on June 20, 2024 the appointment of Fr. Rafael Cruz (left) as the new Bishop of Baguio.
BAGUIO. Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Baguio, Rev. Fr. Roland P. Buyagan (right), announces during the Holy Mass on June 20, 2024 the appointment of Fr. Rafael Cruz (left) as the new Bishop of Baguio.Screenshot from The Baguio Cathedral of Our Lady of the Atonement video

AFTER more than a year of being “sede vacante” (without a bishop), the Diocese of Baguio has a new shepherd.

This after Pope Francis appointed on late Thursday, June 20, 2024, Fr. Rafael Cruz as the new Bishop of Baguio.

In a report by CBCP News, the 64-year-old priest from the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan was appointed to succeed Archbishop Victor Bendico.

"The appointment was announced in the Vatican at 12 noon on Thursday (6 p.m. in the Philippines)," said CBCP News, the official news agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The Baguio diocese has been “sede vacante” since May 2023 when Bendico was appointed to the Archdiocese of Capiz.

During the vacancy, the Baguio diocese has been under the care of Fr. Roland Buyagan as diocesan administrator.

Prior to his appointment, Cruz has been serving as the parish priest of St. Ildephonse Parish in Malasiqui, Pangasinan.

Born in Mapandan, Pangasinan, Cruz studied philosophy at the San Pablo Regional College Seminary in Baguio City.

After finishing his theology studies at the Immaculate Conception School of Theology in Vigan City, he was ordained priest in September 1985.

The bishop-elect also holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and a doctorate of philosophy in clinical psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU).

He then did his residency training at Loyola University of Chicago and the Carl Jung Institute in Evanston, Illinois.

At the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese, Cruz was the parish priest of Saints Peter and Paul in Calasiao, Pangasinan, from 1985 to 1987.

He was also a visiting professor at the Loyola School of Theology in Quezon City from 1999 to 2004, a spiritual director and psychologist advisor for seminarians in Batanes, and a teacher at the Center for Family Ministries at ADMU in 2004.

From 2011 to 2018, he was a spiritual director and teacher at the Mary Help of Christians High School Seminary in Binmaley, Pangasinan, and the Mary Help of Christians College Seminary in Dagupan City.

Since 2022, he has been a member of the Permanent Committee for the Protection of Minors of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Cruz is also a visiting lecturer at the Mary Help of Christians Theology Seminary in San Fabian, Pangasinan, the Immaculate Conception School of Theology in Vigan City, and the Recoletos Theology Seminary in Quezon City. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)

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