By URIEL C. QUILINGUING
Contributing Editor .
ROMAN Catholic bishop-elect Cosme Damian Racines Almedilla is set to “take canonical possession” of the Butuan diocese Tuesday next week in a solemn ceremony at the Saint Joseph Cathedral.
Pope Francis appointed Almedilla three months ago.
Fr. Wilbert Mark Simplicio, the diocese’s chancellor, said Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, the metropolitan archbishop of Manila, would grace the solemn occasion as homilist of the mass.
Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma would be the principal consecrator of Almedilla’s ordination and installation.
Bishops Jose Cabantan of Malaybalay, Bukidnon, and Patrick Daniel Parcon of Talibon, Bohol, will be assisting Ledesma as co-consecrators.
Simplicio said the diocese’s chancery, which he heads, is overseeing the preparations that involve all the 62 parishes, spread out in Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, the home to more than 1.5 million Catholics.
“We are expecting about 2,000 guests from various dioceses all over the country, aside from those from our parishes,” the chancellor said.
Ordained to the priesthood on Aug. 4, 1987, he was parish priest of the Holy Child Parish in Ubay, Bohol, when his appointment to the vacant episcopal see came.
His formations to the priesthood were at the St. John XXIII College Seminary in Malaybalay and at the Loyola House of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University.
Aside from being a parish priest, he eventually served as spiritual director of St. John XXII College Seminary in Malaybalay, school director of the Holy Child Academy in Bohol, and chaplain of the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City. He has also been known for promoting basic ecclesial communities.
The 59-year-old Almedilla, a native of San Miguel, Bohol, would be Butuan diocese’s third bishop after the diocese was established in 1967.
Bishop Carmelo Dominador Morelos nurtured the diocese from inception until 1994 and was succeeded by Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos who passed away on Oct. 21, 2017.
After Pueblos’ demise, Archbishop Ledesma became the apostolic administrator of the Butuan diocese, on concurrent capacity, until Almedilla’s election.