Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oldest Filipino bishop marks Golden Jubilee

SAN PABLO City, July 22, 2011―Bishop Pedro N. Bantigue, the first Bishop of San Pablo, will celebrate his fiftieth anniversary as a bishop come July 25, Feast of Saint James the Apostle.
The announcement was made by Msgr. Melchor A. Barcenas, the Vicar General of the Diocese of San Pablo, last July 18, during the monthly Clergy Assembly.
A celebration is scheduled on July 25 to commemorate the 50th Episcopal Anniversary of Bishop Bantigue and the 24th Episcopal Anniversary of San Pablo Bishop Leo M. Drona, who was also ordained bishop on the same date last 1987.
To mark the event, a solemn Mass is scheduled at 5:15 pm at the Cathedral of Saint Paul the First Hermit, San Pablo City, and will be followed by a simple dinner at the Bishop’s Residence. Bishops, priests, religious and laity are expected to grace the event.
Bishop Bantigue is currently the oldest living Filipino bishop, by age and by date of episcopal ordination. He was ordained bishop on 25 July 1961 by His Eminence Rufino Jiao Santos, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Manila, and was given the Titular See of Catula and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Manila.
Upon the creation of the Diocese of San Pablo in the Philippine Islands, Bishop Bantigue was appointed its first bishop by Pope Paul VI.
Born in Hagonoy (Bulacan) on January 31, 1920, Bishop Bantigue proved to be a trusted priest in the Archdiocese of Manila. Shortly after his priestly ordination in 1945, he served as Private Secretary to three archbishops of Manila: Archbishop Michael J. O’Doherty, Archbishop Gabriel Reyes, and Cardinal-Archbishop Santos. As a young prelate, he participated in the third session (14 September to 21 November 1964) of the Second Vatican Council .
Upon becoming the first Bishop of San Pablo, Bishop Bantigue guided the newly erected diocese in its early years. One of his hallmark acts as its Bishop is the convocation of the First Diocesan Synod of San Pablo in 1994.
After twenty eight years of being the Pastor of the flock of San Pablo diocese, Bishop Bantigue retired at the age of seventy five years and four months. He was succeeded by Bishop Francisco C. San Diego.
At present, the Diocese of San Pablo has Bishop Leo M. Drona as its current shepherd.
July 25 is a double celebration in the Diocese of San Pablo, for it marks the celebration of two great jubilees: that of its first shepherd and its current Bishop. (Fr. David Reyes)

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