With the appointment of a new bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan, Fr. Edwin Gariguez hopes that ecological conversion will advance in the island province.
Last week, Pope Francis named Bishop Moises Cuevas, auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, as the new prelate of the Catholic Church in Calapan in the province of Oriental Mindoro.
“The ecological challenge in Mindanao, especially about large-scale mining, is an equally important concern in Mindoro. We hope our new bishop will also be an advocate of ecological conversion for our local Church,” said Fr. Gariguez.
Fr. Gariguez, who heads the Diocesan Social Action Center, said the appointment of a new bishop “brings not only joy but hope that the Church’s environmental campaigns in Mindoro will further strengthen under his guidance and leadership.”
Bishop Cuevas will succeed Bishop Warlito Cajandig, who had held the post from 1989 until 2022.
In November 2022, the Vatican announced that the pope had “liberated” Cajandig from his office for health reasons.
Fr. Gariguez said the clergy welcomes with “deepest joy and gratitude” the appointment Cuevas.
“We hope that with his pastoral leadership, we can continue the synodal journey of making the Church ever more responsive to the signs of the times, in our committed ministry for integral evangelization, and in reaching out to the peripheries, in becoming truly a Church of the Poor,” said Gariguez.
At 49, Cuevas remains the youngest Catholic prelate in the country. He was born in Batangas City and ordained a priest for the Zamboanga archdiocese in 2000. The pope appointed him as its auxiliary bishop in March 2020.
He is also currently serving as the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, while awaiting the installation of its new archbishop, Julius Tonel, scheduled for August 22.
Gariguez said Cuevas’ pastoral experience in the Zamboanga “will certainly be a source of inspiration for us in the Vicariate, especially the dynamism of the Church in the face of social challenges and grassroots evangelization thru BECs in Mindanao.”
Laudato Si’ Movement defines ecological conversion as the “transformation of hearts and minds toward greater love of God, each other, and creation. It is a process of acknowledging our contribution to the social and ecological crisis and acting in ways that nurture communion: healing and renewing our common home.” – with reports from CBCP News