Bishop Abarquez is new
bishop of Calbayog
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
– Pope Benedict XVI appointed as Bishop of the Diocese of Calbayog,
Bishop Isabelo Caiban Abarquez, Titular Bishop of Talaptula and
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Palo.
This was officially
announced by Archbishop Jose Palma of the Archdiocese of Palo in a
gathering of representatives of the priests, clergy, religious and lay
people, at exactly
7:00 o'clock in the evening of January 6 in
Calbayog City. Prior
to his appointment as the Archdiocese of Palo, Archbishop Palma was
the Bishop of Calbayog and he remains as the Apostolic Administrator
until the appointment of the new Bishop.
Archbishop Palma said
that Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino,
Fr. Frisco Cajes, OFM, president of the Christ the King College, Ms.
Ignacia Cui and other commission members, were among those who were
happy to hear the good news.
Archbishop Palma said
that the parishioners in the Diocese of Calbayog must thank the Lord
for giving them a permanent pastor and they must pray that Bishop
Abarquez will be given the grace and the strength to fulfill his
servant leadership in the Diocese of Calbayog.
Although the Vatican
webpage carried the announcement that the appointment was done January
5, 7:00 o'clock in the evening Manila time or 12:00 o'clock noon,
Vatican time, Archbishop Palma said that the instruction given to him
by the Papal Nuncio is for him to announce the appointment at
7:00 o'clock in the evening of January 6.
Archbishop Palma said
that he will meet with Bishop Abarquez to confer with him regarding
the installation date and other arrangements. He also intimated that
the preparations for the Synod of the Diocese of Calbayog is ongoing
but it will be the new Bishop already who will convoke the Synod.
Bishop Abarquez, who
is now in Cebu, acknowledged the congratulatory text messages sent to
him. Bishop Abarquez asked for prayers of the faithful so that he will
be able to perform God's will in leading the people of God in the
Diocese of Calbayog.
A priest for nearly 20
years and a bishop for 4 years, Bishop Isabelo Abarquez was born in
Panlaan, Dumanjug of the Archdiocese of Cebu on July 8, 1956. He
studied at Pope John XXIII Minor Seminary for pre-college studies. He
took his philosophy course at the San Carlos Seminary College and
finally at the Seminario Mayor de
San Carlos for his theologate. All of these institutions of priestly
formation are in
He was ordained a
priest of the Archdiocese of Cebu on June 23, 1987. He was at first
appointed professor, then Spiritual Director of the San Carlos
Seminary-College. He would later on assume the office of Rector of the
said college seminary.
He was appointed
Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu and Titular Bishop of Talaptula on December
27, 2002. His episcopal consecration took place on February 18, 2003
at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
Bishop Abarquez was
appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Palo on June 19, 2004. He was first
assigned parish priest of Sts. Peter and Paul in Ormoc City and
finally, the pastor of Sto. Nino Church.
At the Catholic
Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Bishop Abarquez is a
member of two episcopal commissions: the Episcopal Commission on
Catechesis and Catholic Education and the Mixed Commission on Mutual
Relations Between Bishops and Religious.
Bishop Abarquez is the
tenth Bishop of the Diocese of Calbayog. The first bishop was the late
Bishop Pablo Singzon who was appointed on April 12, 1910. The other
bishops were the late Bishop Sofronio Hacbang, the late Bishop
Michelle Acebedo, Bishop Manuel P. del Rosario who is now Bishop of
Malolos, the late Cipriano V. Urgel, Bishop Emeritus Ricardo Pido
Tancinco, the late Bishop Sincero Lucero, Bishop Emeritus Maximiano
Tuazon Cruz, and Archbishop Jose Serofia Palma who is now the
Archbishop of Palo.
Established on April
10, 1910, the Diocese of Calbayog comprises the civil province of
Western Samar. It has a Catholic population of about 654,632 out of a
total population of 689,087 or 95 percent of its population are
Catholics, as gathered from the Vatican Information Service. It
belongs to the Ecclesiastical Province of Palo, Leyte, and is a
suffragan of this archdiocese. It has a total number of 54 priests, 48
of who are diocesan priests and 6 are religious priests.