Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed Bishop Julius Tonel of Ipil as the new archbishop of Zamboanga.
Tonel, 66, will succeed the late Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz, who died from an illness at the age of 74 on Dec. 10, 2021.
Since then, the archdiocese has been under the care of Auxiliary Bishop Moises Cuevas of Zamboanga as apostolic administrator.
Born on Aug. 31, 1956 in Davao City, he studied Philosophy at the San Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary of Mindanao (SFX-REMASE) and Theology at the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary in Manila.
Tonel was ordained priest on April 12, 1980 for the Archdiocese of Davao, where he served as its Vicar General and Rector of SFX-REMASE.
The archbishop-elect also holds a licentiate degree in Liturgical Theology from the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Liturgy in Rome.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as prelate of then Prelature of Ipil on June 30, 2007. He was ordained to the episcopate on Aug. 20 of the same year.
When the prelature was elevated to a diocese on May 1, 2010, Tonel became its first bishop.
Zamboanga is one of the country’s 16 archdioceses, and the first of the four in Mindanao including Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Cotabato.
In 1910, Zamboanga became a separate diocese from Cebu, becoming the mother diocese of the Catholic Church in southern Philippines.
The archdiocese also has as its suffragans the Diocese of Ipil, the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo, and the Prelature of Isabela de Basilan.