The Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, yesterday described the appointment of Rev. Julito Cortes, fourth bishop of the Diocese of Dumaguete, as an “answered prayer”.
Pinto, representing Pope Francis, attended the liturgical reception and canonical installation of Cortes at the packed St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral in Dumaguete, and delivered a short message from the Pontiff.
“It is a pleasure to share in your joy as you welcome home His Excellency, Most. Rev. Julito Cortes. He is an answer to your prayers. I am well aware that you have been asking the Lord to give you a shepherd after his own heart,” Pinto said. “He responds by sending to you one of the sons of the church of Dumaguete”.
The Diocese has not had a bishop for about one year and four months until Pope Francis’ appointment of Cortes in September.
The Nuncio said he has the honor to bring to the people of Dumaguete the “paternal solidarity of Pope Francis”.
He said the events of the past weeks have shown how much love the Pope has for Filipinos. “The messages he conveyed, the prayers offered and donations sent to victims of recent calamities show that Pope Francis truly keeps you close to his heart,” Pinto added.
He underscored the role of the bishop to lead, by showing the way to life in the model of the first Christian communities, at times taking his place in the midst of his people in his humble and merciful presence.
At other times, he must work behind the people of God, giving them the freedom to open up new horizons for the mission of the Church, Pinto added.
“Bishop Cortes, Pope Francis conveys to you his trust and closeness as well as his best wishes for a fruitful apostolic ministry in the Diocese of Dumaguete,” Pinto said.
At least 49 archbishops and bishops from across the country and some 300 local and visiting members of the clergy, led by Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Manila Archbishop Luis Cardinal Tagle, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, and Palo, Leyte Archbishop John Du, the predecessor of Cortes, attended his installation.
Also present were local government officials of Negros Oriental and Siquijor, the bishop’s family and relatives, members of religious orders and the lay faithful.*JFP
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