By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Diocese of Malolos in Bulacan formally welcomed its fifth bishop Dennis Villarojo on Wednesday.
The diocese has been without a bishop for more than a year following the death of Bishop Jose Oliveros in May 2018.
In his message, Villarojo thanked God for entrusting to him the Malolos diocese and its people.
He said the diocese is God’s precious gift to him.
“You are God’s precious gift to me as I start my episcopal ministry here in Malolos,” said Villarojo.
“This is a new opportunity of expressing my love for Him by serving His people. I thank God for all of you my brother bishops, priests, the religious men and women, the laity of the Diocese of Malolos,” he added.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, who served as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese, said the installation of Villarojo is a fulfillment of God’s promise to always send shepherds for His people.
“Once again, God showed His fidelity to His promise that He will always send shepherds after His heart,” he said.
“We pray for Bp Dennis that he continue the wonderful work his predecessors have accomplished in uniting and leading the Malolos clergy and faithful,” added Ongtioco.
He expressed hope that the diocese will continue to be a “Church of the poor, a Church for the poor and a Church for all.”
Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia asked those present to accompany the new bishop in his journey by “renewing” their personal lives.
He added: This is the best way which we can accompany His Excellency in his new journey and also the best way in which we can serve the Lord.
For his part, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said this week is a “week of consolation” for the church with the installation and ordination of a number of bishops.
He asked the religious and laity in the diocese to be consoling to Bishop Villarojo saying the episcopal ministry is not easy.
“Be his consolation. The episcopal ministry is not easy. Look at how the bishops who retire suddenly become youthful…you could see how stressful but someone must do it and you do it in fath even if your consolation is not always palpable,” Tagle said in his homily.
Pastors, he said should pray to God for consolation whenever there are suffering people.
“While we can do some acts or engage in acts of comfort, in the end, it is God who is the source of all and lasting genuine consolation,” said Tagle.
“It is God who will console. It is God who will come go to His suffering and humiliated people and take them home.
That’s why we need to prepare a path for the Lord who like the shepherd will carry the sorrowful sheep back home,” added the cardinal.
Among the bishops who attended Villarojo’s installation at the Minor Basilica of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception were Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to mention a few.