Post with permission from CBCP NEWS (c) 2018

Sem. Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban | CBCP News

MALOLOS CITY – The Diocese of Malolos rejoiced in the celebration of the episcopal ordination of Bishop Bartolome Gaspar Santos, Jr., D.D., 50, before his canonical installation as the fifth Bishop of Iba, as appointed by Pope Francis on Feb. 17.

Held at the Immaculate Conception Parish – Cathedral and Minor Basilica in this town, the rite of episcopal ordination was led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who also served as homilist and principal consecrator.

San Fernando Archbishop Florentino G. Lavarias, who will be Santos’ metropolitan prelate, and Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros served as co-consecrators. Officials from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) led by CBCP president Romulo G. Valles graced the event.

Santos was led to the civic reception and public profession of faith by Oliveros, joined by officials from the Apostolic Nunciature, Malolos Cathedral rector Fr. Domingo Salonga, and Malolos vicar general Msgr. Pablo Legaspi, Jr. Bulacan vice governor Daniel Fernando and Malolos City mayor Christian Natividad, and other local civil officials were also present.

Marian devotee

According to a diocesan news release circulated through its social media platform Sandigan – Diocese of Malolos, seven parts highlighted the ordination rite itself. Legaspi, who was recently appointed vicar general of the diocese, replacing Santos, led the reading of the papal bull. Tagle led Santos during the Nine Promises of the Elect, the Litany of Supplication, the Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Ordination (where the Book of Gospels are placed over the head of the bishop-elect), the Anointing of the Head, and the Handing of the Book of Gospels, episcopal ring, miter, pastoral staff. The consecrators and the other bishops welcomed Santos to the episcopate with a fraternal kiss.

According to Iba diocesan administrator Fr. Daniel O. Presto, Santos is set to take over the Diocese of Iba; a see without a bishop for almost four years, on May 25, Friday, on the Memorial of St. Venerable Bede at the St. Augustine Cathedral Parish in Iba, Zambales.

Sandigan also noted that Santos’ motto, “Dives in Misericordia et Caritate Dei” (Rich in mercy and love of God) is taken from Ephesians 2:4, the same verse from which he developed his thesis for his licentiate studies.

‘Spiritually united’

The date of Santos’ ordination was chosen to celebrate the memorial of Pope St. Pius V, whose papacy was from 1566-1572. A Doctor of the Church, the first Dominican pope is an inspiration to Santos as he instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, his personal Marian devotion. He is also an alumnus of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary, Manila under the Dominican friars.

According to Sandigan: “Prior to his appointment as the Vicar General of the Diocese of Malolos, the Bishop-Elect was the Episcopal Vicar for the Religious from 2005 to 2013. This made him closer to the nuns (both cloistered and active) and the religious and in particular, the Carmelite Sisters of the Holy Family in Tabe, Guiguinto, Bulacan where he regularly presided Holy Masses. Upon the announcement of his appointment as a new bishop, Msgr. Santos requested the Carmelite Sisters to design and embroider his ordination vestments. This only shows how the nuns of the Diocese are spiritually united with the Bishop-Elect especially in prayers on his Episcopal Ordination which will take place in the Year of the Clergy and the Religious.”

Santos is the second bishop coming from the clergy of Malolos since the diocese’s canonical erection in 1962. Kalookan Bishop Emeritus Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. was the first, ordained on Aug. 22, 1984, 34 years ago.