Key leaders of the Catholic Church in Dumaguete City have expressed optimism for a brighter and stronger direction for the local diocese with the recent appointment of Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes as the next prelate of the Diocese of Dumaguete.
City Administrator William Ablong, president of the Parish Pastoral Council of Dumaguete, Monday said he is thankful that, after a long wait, the Diocese now has a new bishop.
Pope Francis has appointed Cortes the fourth prelate of the Dumaguete Diocese, and the announcement from the Vatican was made public Saturday.
Ablong said he hopes that Cortes, who served in various capacities in the Diocese of Dumaguete before his assignment in Cebu, can perk up the spiritual life of the people here.
“I am sure the priests will be happy with this development,” he said. For about a year and four months, the diocese has been without a bishop and priests have held their positions in parishes and other assignments for almost eight years already.
Cortes’s appointment is timely with the celebration of the Laity Week, Ablong said, adding the Diocesan Council for the Laity, the Diocesan Organization of Renewal Movements and Communities and the Parish Pastoral Council will now be strengthened.
Fr. Enrique Thaddeu Balongag, president of the diocesan-owned Colegio de Sta. Catalina de Alejandria, and academic dean of the St. Joseph Seminary College, said he believes in the competency and skills of Cortes.
“It’s worth the long wait. Hopefully, we can be able to pastorally move forward,” he said.
Msgr. Glen Corsiga, rector of the St. Joseph Seminary College, said he is thankful for the appointment of Cortes.
The bishop, 57, who hails from Siquijor, had served as rector of the St. Joseph Seminary College for 10 years, aside from having held other positions in the Diocese of Dumaguete.
“The seminary is glad and proud that he is coming back and I wish him good health, good luck and good management, especially as a bishop,” Corsiga said.
Cortes, in a text message to the DAILY STAR, said the date of his installation will be finalized when the Nunciature gives the go signal after consultation with key people.
“I feel overwhelmed at the task. But I am grateful for the trust of the Holy Father for this assignment. It is by God’s compassion and mercy that I am back as bishop of Dumaguete,” Cortes added.
Cortes will fly home today from New Jersey, U.S.A.*JFP
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