By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Diocese of Daet in Camarines Norte on Wednesday welcomed its fourth bishop, Rex Andrew Alarcon.
The 48-year old Alarcon is the youngest member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
According to a CBCP News post, there are two Filipino bishops younger than Alarcon but they are based in other countries. The CBCP identified them as Bishop Ryan Jimenez, 47, of Chalan Kanoa in Saipan, and Bishop Pedro Baquero, 48, of Kerema in Papua New Guinea.
Held at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, Alarcon’s installation was attended by a dozen bishops led by Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, and Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia.
Top local and national government leaders were also present in the event.
In his speech, Alarcon told those present: “I want to accompany you. May we walk together in the spirit of synodality in the heart of the Church.”
It was last January when Pope Francis appointed Alarcon as bishop of Daet.
He succeeded Archbishop Gilbert Garcera who was transferred to the Archdiocese of Lipa in February 2017.
After his theology studies at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Alarcon was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Caceres in 1996.
In 2001, he obtained his licentiate in Church history at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy.
Since 2013, he has held the office of superintendent of the Catholic schools of Caceres, member of the college of consultors, and spokesman of the archdiocese.
Alarcon will now lead more than half-a-million Catholics in 30 parishes that reside in Camarines Norte province.