A 47-year-old man of the cloth has become the first priest to be ordained bishop in Ipil diocese in southern Philippines.
Bishop Jose Rapadas was raised to the episcopacy in a ceremony at the town’s St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral on Tuesday.
Ipil is the youngest Catholic diocese in the country with around half-a-million Catholics.
It was the first episcopal ordination in Ipil since 2010 when it was erected into a diocese.
Hundreds attended the ceremony, among them 24 prelates including Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.
Bishop Julius Tonel of Ipil was the principal consecrator with Bishops Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran and Jose Cabantan of Malaybalay as co-consecrators.
Speaking after the Mass, Bishop Rapadas said he knows he faces challenges and asked the faithful for prayers in his new mission.
“Please pray for me that I may have the courage and strength… that I may be a joyful and humble servant to the people of Iligan entrusted to my care,” he said.
Pope Francis on June 13 had tapped Rapadas to lead the Diocese of Iligan in Lanao Del Norte, also in Mindanao.
He also becomes the youngest member of the College of Bishops in the Philippines.
Bishop Rapadas will be formally installed as the fifth bishop of Iligan at the St. Michael Cathedral on Sept. 5.
Catholics make up about 65 percent of Lanao del Norte’s around 1.5 million population.
Rapadas was ordained a priest in 1999 after finishing his studies at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro City.
He has a licentiate in dogmatic theology from the Loyola School of Theology at Ateneo de Manila University.
As a priest, he served as a seminary professor and rector, director of catechesis, parish vicar and coordinator of the diocesan social pastoral ministry.
August 20, 2019