PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, – A new bishop in PalawanÂ has been ordained and installed at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral here on Friday.
He is Bishop Socrates “Soc” Mesiona, a native of Sevilla, Bohol, the province which has produced the most number of bishops in the country. In fact, he is the 17th Boholano ordained bishop.Â Months prior his appointment by the Vatican, another Boholano bishop, Diocese of Tagbilaran Bishop Alberto Uy was also named bishop.
More than 50 priests from Bohol led by Bishop Uy and Bishop Daniel Patrick Parcon of the Diocese of Talibon graced the momentous ordination together with government officials led by Gov. Edgar Chatto and City Mayor Baba Yap.
The new Palawan church leader is the second bishop from the lowly town of Sevilla, Bohol. The first was Bishop Bai Varquez.
More than 2,000 bishops, priests, religious men and women and lay people attended the ordination and installation of now Bishop Socrates Mesiona.
In his homily, CBCP President Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan welcomed the new prelate to the â€œfraternity of hypocrites, to the fraternity of shameless leaders.â€
The archbishop did not mention President Rodrigo Duterte, but â€œwarnedâ€ Mesiona on being called names â€œand maligned while some throw mud at you.â€
In several occasions, Duterte launched vulgar attacks against the Church for criticizing the extrajudicial killings as a result of his bloody war on drugs.
He also lambasted the Catholic Church as â€œthe most hypocritical institution.â€
The CBCP headÂ said Bishop Mesiona should â€œremain firm because God alone is our judge.â€Â
â€œIn the sunset of our lives, it is not the peopleâ€™s clap that would qualify you to the Fatherâ€™s house as it is what the Father says about you that truly makes us who we are,â€ Villegas added.
Villegas added thatÂ everyone is expected to be faithful and that faith â€œdoes not grow in the garden of comfort and convenience.â€Â
He also said that faithfulness grows in theÂ Via CrucisÂ as it grows best on the path to Calvary.
Born in Tagbilaran City on Sept. 17, 1963, Mesiona was ordained priest of April 14,1989 at age 25 as a member of the Mission Society of the Philippines, where he also served as its former Superior General.
Bishop Mesiona also acquired his Licentiate in Missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Italy in 1996.
The 53-year old bishop also served as executive secretary of the CBCPâ€™s Commission on Mission and national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in the Philippines.
Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales was principal consecrator with Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, and Apostolate Vicar of Taytay Bishop EdgardoÂ Â Juanich as con-consecrators.
Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI and some 30 archbishops and bishops attended the three-hour rites.
Government functionaries led by Palawan Gov. Jose Ch. Alvarez, military and police commanders along with local government unit leaders, the clergy and religious in the Apostolic Vicariate also gave their homage and obedience to the new bishop.Â (with reports from Melo M. Acuna/CBCPNews)Â