MANILA, Jan. 23, 2016— Pope Francis has appointed a Filipino-born priest as the new bishop for the Church in Papua New Guinea.
Salesian Fr. Pedro Baquero will be the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Kerema, located around 300 kilometers north-west in the country’s capital of Port Moresby.
The Pope made the appointment over the weekend as the diocese has been without a prelate since the death of Bishop Patrick Taval in April 2013.
At 46, the bishop-elect will oversee the 47-year old diocese with 35 priests and 24 female religious who are working to serve more than 26,000 Catholics.
Baquero was born in Manila in September 1970. After his primary and secondary school with the Salesians in Pampanga, he entered the novitiate in 1989 and made his first profession the following year and perpetual profession in 1998.
After completing his philosophy in the Don Bosco College in Canlubang, Laguna and theology in the Don Bosco Study Centre in Paranaque City, he was ordained a priest in 1999.
The bishop-elect is currently vice-provincial of the Salesian Province of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
From the period of his practical training, he followed the missionary vocation ‘ad gentes’ and worked in Papua New Guinea in various capacities.
He also served as the Salesian Superior Delegate of Papua New Guinea – Solomon Islands from 2014-2016, until the jurisdiction was raised to the rank of Salesian Vice-province, of which he was appointed the Superior.
Baquero is the second Filipino named by the Pope as bishop for Oceania.
In June 2016, the pontiff appointed Fr. Ryan Jimenez as the second bishop of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa in Saipan, the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Jimenez, 44, was born in Dumaguete City, and raised in Larena, Siquijor. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)