By Christina Hermoso
Bishop David William Antonio, the new head of the Diocese of Ilagan in Isabela, has been formally installed during rites held recently at the Saint Michael Cathedral in Ilagan.
Church leaders, led by Papal Nuncio Gabriele Giordano Caccia, Cotabato Archbishop Emeritus Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, bishops from different dioceses, members of the clergy and religious groups, and hundreds of the faithful of the Diocese of Ilagan attended the solemn rites.
Appointed by Pope Francis in November 2018, Antonio, 55, became the fifth bishop of Ilagan. He succeeded Bishop Joseph Nacua who resigned for health reasons in 2017.
The newly installed bishop asked for prayers and support as he began his new ministry.
“I wish to be a shepherd who is not afraid in taking up the cross for the sake of the sheep. I am with you as one who serves,” Antonio said.
Cardinal Quevedo, then the Archbishop of Nueva Segovia, ordained Antonio to the priesthood in 1988. In his homily during the mass, he reminded Antonio to follow the example of Jesus “who came not to be served but to serve.”
Antonio served as Auxiliary Bishop of Nueva Segovia in 2011. He was Pope Benedict XVI’s last appointee to the episcopate in the Philippines before the now Pope Emeritus resigned in 2013.
At the time of his appointment, he was serving as administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose in Occidental Mindoro. Antonio is currently the chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines- Episcopal Commission on Vocations.