By Roi Anthoni B. Lomotan
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – After a year of waiting, the Diocese of Dumaguete finally installed its fourth bishop – Most Rev. Julito B. Cortes through a canonical installation held on December 5 (Thursday morning) at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Dumaguete City.
The ceremony was witnessed by thousands of people and 49 bishops from all over the country including 350 priests gracing the event.
Prominent clergymen who attended the installation rites were Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.
Notable officials who were also in the event were Negros Oriental Gov. Roel R. Degamo, Dumaguete City Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria and Vice Mayor Woodrow Maquiling Sr., Siquijor Governo Zaldy S. Villa, Siquijor Rep. Marie Ann Pernes, Mandaue, Cebu Mayor Jonas Cortes and former Philippine ambassador to Vatican and now Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting Henrietta De Villa.
The papal bull or the pope’s appointment letter to Bishop Cortes was read in the beginning of the ceremony.
During the homily Cardinal Vidal bid his farewell to Bishop Cortes who was the former auxiliary bishop of Cebu.
In his homily Cardinal Vidal stressed that the bishop is the anchor of hope of the people in times of despair. He used the recent natural calamities experienced by the country to point out the central message of his homily.
“The bishop must stay when there is little hope or he must give his people hope when people can no longer find meaning in their lives. The bishop must be there to make them see the hand of God even when all is dark,” Cardinal Vidal said.
On the other hand, in his message after the canonical installation, Bishop Cortes thanked the pontiffs from different part of the country for coming in his installation.
“Today is a celebration first of all of the generosity of God and to his church especially for the particular church in Dumaguete,” Bishop Cortes said which was followed by loud clapping from the mass attendants.
Bishop Cortes also honored his predecessors, the late bishop Epifanio Surban, Most Rev. Angel Lagdameo, current Archbishop of Jaro, Iloilo and Archbishop John Du of Palo, Leyte for guiding the faithful Dumagueteños over the years.
Meanwhile, Dumaguete City Police implemented tight security during the event.
Dumaguete City Police Chief James Goforth said many policemen have been deployed to secure the safety of the clergymen and the people who would attend the occasion and there have coordination with different law enforcement agencies in implementing security measures.
On the other hand, Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo welcomed the installation of Bishop Cortes. The governor conveyed his congratulations to the new Dumaguete bishop and assured the pontiff full support from him but within the bounds of the law. (mbcn/RAL/PIA7-NEGOR)