Sunday, July 24, 2011

Oldest prelate marks 50th year as bishop


MANILA, Philippines — The oldest living Filipino prelate marks his 50th anniversary as bishop Monday, July 25, the same day President Benigno S. Aquino III will deliver his State-of-the-Nation Address (SoNA).

An article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website revealed that former San Pablo Bishop Pedro N. Bantigue is not only the oldest living Filipino bishop by age but also by date of episcopal ordination.

He was ordained bishop on July 25, 1961 by His Eminence, the late 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 of the Second Vatican Council (14 September to 21 November 1964).

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 428ht years of being the Pastor of the flock of San Pablo diocese, Bishop Bantigue retired at the age of 75 years and four months. He was succeeded by Bishop Francisco C. San Diego.

Aside from the 50th anniversary of Bantigue’s episcopal ordination, the Diocese of San Pablo is also marking the 24th episcopal anniversary of its current Bishop Leo M. Drona, who was also ordained bishop on the same date last 1987.

To mark the double celebration, a mass is scheduled at 5:15 p.m. 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 leaders are expected in the event.

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