Malaybalay 5th bishop to be installed Sept. 14

By : Uriel Quilinguing Mindanao Today/10:03:01am 09/10/2021


Incoming Malaybalay diocese Bishop Msgr. Noel Pedregosa. (Photo supplied)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The new bishop of Malaybalay diocese of the Roman Catholic Church will formally assume Tuesday, Sept. 14, the chairperson of the diocesan organizing committee said.

Msgr. Noel Portal Pedregosa, 56, becomes the diocese’s fifth prelate – incidentally on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross – after Pope Francis appointed him bishop on July 29, 2021.

Most Rev. Jose Cabantan, Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro, will be the principal consecrator in the ordination and installation rites at the San Isidro Cathedral that will start 9:00 a.m.

Abp. Romulo Valles of Davao and Abp. Angelito R. Lampon of Cotabato are to assist Cabantan as co-consecrators.

Apostolic nuncio to the Philippines Abp. Charles Brown, will also grace the occasion as the Holy See’s envoy.

Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri of Bukidnon, with five other government officials, will be witnessing the historic religious event.

Fr. Alfred Delfino, chancellor of diocese, who heads the organizing committees, said they are strictly complying with the “pandemic protocols” by limiting the list of “official delegates” to 157 persons.

Since Aug. 20, this year, when Malaybalay was placed under general community quarantine status due to rising Covid-19 cases, only 30% maximum allowable capacity is allowed religious activities, barring entries of below 18 years old, 65 years old and above, and pregnant women in churches.

Parishioners are encouraged to attend masses virtually, either through Facebook or through live broadcast from diocese-owned and managed DxDB Radyo Bandilyo.

“That’s only 10.47% of the 1,500 full capacity of the (San Isidro) Cathedral,” said Delfino and that only 11 are coming in as visitors: the papal nuncio, six bishops, and four priests.

Aside from the six dignitaries from local governments, 140 others are in the “official delegates” list: two bishops, 65 priests, five nuns, 26 family members, 20 choir members, and three lay ministers.

Aside from the new bishop, the other is Bishop Emeritus Honesto Pacana, SJ, from the diocese who is now 88 years old, after retiring at 77.

Earlier, 25 bishops had wanted to attend, but later begged off due to travel restrictions and documentary requirements.

Delfino said those outside the diocese (Bukidnon) were informed earlier of the minimum requirements of the city health and tourism offices: 1. Negative rapid antigen test result (72 hours);

2. Barangay certification one does not have exposures to a Covid-19 positive person; and

3. vaccination card or ID, if there is any.

The diocesan chancellor said these documents are to be presented at the screening and reception procedures, a processing area situated in front of the San Isidro Cathedral.

Pedregosa, who was born in Bialong, Mlang, North Cotabato, and whose family moved to barangay Malipayon, Pangantucan, Bukidnon during his formative years, is Cabantan’s immediate successor as bishop.

Fr. Venancio Balansag Jr., parish priest of San Ignacio de Loyola Parish in Kalasungay, Malaybalay said Pedregosa finished secondary studies at Loyola High School in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, then studied at St. John XXIII Seminary in Malaybalay – an institution the latter would eventually head as its rector.

Balansag said the new bishop is among the pioneering graduates of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro.

His Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures (STL) was from the Loyola School of Theology, Quezon City.

“Ut Omnes Unum Sint” (That they all may be one), which is taken from John 17:21 of the Holy Bible, is Bishop Pedregosa’s coat-of-arms motto.

Fr. Mindo Alinas, parish priest of St. Joseph-Laligan in Valencia City, described Pedregosa’s assumption as “God’s gift while the diocese is celebrating its golden jubilee.”

Alinas, who heads “Paring Bukidnon” (Bukidnon Clergy) which is composed of 97 secular priests, said he had been wishing and praying that the next bishop should come from Bukidnon. Pedregosa is the first “home-grown” of the five bishops of Malaybalay diocese.

Ordained priest 30 years ago (Sept. 11), he was diocesan administrator for over a year when a sede vacante was created following Cabantan’s assumption of the metropolitan seat of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.

Cabantan vacated the seat of the bishop of Malaybalay June 23, 2020 which he occupied since Feb. 18, 2010.

Three others who served as bishops of Malaybalay were Francisco F. Claver, SJ (1969-1984); Gaudencio B. Rosales (1984-1992); and Honesto C. Pacana, SJ (1994-2010, Bishop Emeritus).

The prelature of Malaybalay which was created April 25, 1969 and elevated to diocese Nov. 15, 1982, covers 54 parishes in Bukidnon, including Wao municipality of Lanao del Sur, Barangay Buda of Davao City, but excluding Malitbog town which is under the Archdiocese of Cagayan Oro.

Of the diocese coverage area’s estimated population (2019) of over 1.7 million, roughly 82% of this are Roman Catholic Church members.

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