Altar boy becomes a bishop, heads Diocese of Marbel
KORONADAL CITY – One of the altar boys of Christ the King parish here many years ago is now a bishop heading the Diocese of Marbel.
Rev. Cerilo Allan U. Casicas, once a member of the Knights of the Altar of Marbel cathedral, had been ordained bishop by His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, DD, the archbishop of Cotabato in ceremonies at the Christ the King Cathedral here Wednesday.
“He is now the shepherd of the Diocese of Marbel,” Quevedo said after Casicas had been installed on his “cathedra,” or bishop’s chair.
The ordination of Casicas was aired live over DXOM-AM Radyo Bida Koronadal and by Jaye Mempin’s photography on Facebook.
Among those who attended were Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Romulo Valles, retired Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, and 30 other bishops from across the country.
After the ordination, the new bishop celebrated Mass along with about 80 priests.
In his homily, Quevedo described the new bishop as “excellent in his theological studies.”
“Above and beyond his theological expertise, in person, Cerilo is a teacher and a formator,” he said.
Quevedo reminded him of some important characteristics of a bishop.
He said a bishop is “one who empties himself even of his own divinity to become a slave, to become a servant.”
“All bishops and priests and all religious people are servants,” Quevedo said.
He also said a bishop is a shepherd.
“He has to reach out to the poor, go to the mountains and visit the indigenous peoples, reach out to those in the margins of society or in the periphery of society. He has to seek them out, care for them, nourish them not simply with his words, but through the sacraments, that is why he has collaborators, his priests, to share that mission,” he added.
“I was once an altar boy here and I am now a cardinal, Bishop Casicas once an altar boy here and is now a bishop,” Quevedo said as the crowd applauded.
On April 28 this year, Pope Francis appointed Casicas as new bishop of Marbel, replacing retired Bishop Gutierrez, 79, who served the diocese for 37 years.
Before he was appointed as Marbel bishop, Casicas was the director of Pastoral Formation and professor at the Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro City.
Bishop Casicas urged the Catholics “to make us accountable, keep an eye on us priests and bishops.”
He also reminded all the priests to maintain the virtue of humility and simplicity in life and urged the faithful to rectify the shortcomings committed by members of the clergy.
“Make us accountable the same way you demand accountability from the government,” Bishop Casicas said before a jampacked Christ the King Cathedral. “Correct the clergy if we are wrong,” he added.
An estimated 5,000 faithful witnessed the event that lasted for three hours until Wednesday evening.
Casicas admitted the imperfections within the Catholic Church when he issued an apology during the event also graced by more than 100 bishops and clerics from across the country.
“Sorry for whatever sins and scandals we have made,” the 51-year-old prelate said, without elaborating.
Casicas’ pronouncement came on the heels of an apology to God issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, who earlier called God “stupid.”
The President, who accused some members of the Catholic Church of “hypocrisy” for engaging in corrupt and immoral activities, has been at odds with the Catholic Curch, some of whose leaders have been vocal in condemning the government’s bloody war on drugs that claimed thousands of lives, mostly poor drug personalities. /atm