By Roi Anthoni B. Lomotan
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – “No return, no exchange.”
This is how Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal humorously bid his farewell to former Cebu auxillary bishop and now Bishop of Diocese of Dumaguete Most Rev. Julito B. Cortes during his homily in the canonical installation of the latter at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Dumaguete City on December 5.
“Bishop Lito, as you leave Cebu and as we bid you farewell may you always be a consolation and a joy to God and the people of Dumaguete through the intercession of Mary our mother,” Cardinal Vidal added.
In his homily, Cardinal Vidal emphasized the role of the bishop as a shepherd in the lives of the faithful.
Cardinal Vidal said the bishop must give hope to the people when they can no longer find meaning in their lives and make them see the hand of the Lord even when everything is wrapped in darkness. A bishop is also a unifying factor when the community breaks down.
Cardinal Vidal made use of the recent calamity experienced by the country which brought many people into suffering as a template of his reflection.
The Cardinal described the role of a bishop, that he is married to the Christian people and when the church suffers in times of calamity, the bishop also shares the suffering of the lay people.
Moreover, Vidal recounted an incident where Bishop Cortes helped a deranged woman he had seen walked naked in one of the streets in Cebu. Vidal elaborated that Cortez, who was in his vehicle, stepped down and wrapped the woman with his jacket.
This adds to the role of bishop which is to give consolation to the lay in times of trouble.
Meanwhile, around 49 bishops from all over the country including Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines and some 350 priests graced the installation rites of Bishop Cortez.
In his message, Cardinal Tagle conveyed his congratulations to Bishop Cortez.
Cardinal Tagle related the visitacion dei or visit of God in the canonical installation of Bishop Cortez.
“It is a visit of someone who is filled with the Lord and he can make the presence of the Lord immediate. This is a grace given to a bishop,” Cardinal Tagle explained.
He invited all the people to pray for their new bishop, that may all the Dumagueteños experience the immediacy of God through him.
Aside from clergymen, the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria was also filled by people who participated in the canonical installation.
Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippine and the head of the Diplomatic Corps. also gave his congratulations and well wishes to Bishop Cortez.
Archbishop Pinto said Cortes is an answered prayer for Dumagueteños who sought for a new bishop for over a year. He added that the Dumagueteños are favored by having a bishop who is a son of Dumaguete.
Pinto also imparted Pope Francis’ congratulations to the new bishop.
“Bishop Cortez, Pope Francis conveys to you his trust as well as best wishes for a truthful apostolic ministry in the Diocese of Dumaguete,” Pinto said.
Earlier in the ceremony, the papal bull or the pope’s appointment letter to Cortes as Bishop of the Diocese of Dumaguete was read.
The canonical installation of Bishop Cortes began at 8:00 am and ended at 12:00 noon. It was followed by a reception in the Provincial Convention Center.
Notable officials in the event where Negros Oriental Gov. Roel R. Degamo, Dumaguete City Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria, Siquijor Governor Zaldy S. Villa and Siquijor Representative Marie Anne Pernes.
On the other hand, the Diocese of Dumaguete encompasses all parishes from Basay town in south to Jimalalud in north and the whole province of Siquijor. (mbcn/RAL/PIA7-NEGOR)