Fr. O’Neal Sanchez has been elected administrator of the Diocese of Tarlac by its college of consultors following the death of Bishop Enrique Macaraeg.
In a news release Tuesday evening, the diocese said the selection of Sanchez was made by its board of consultors.
“The diocese still mourns due to the sudden death of our beloved bishop… we still ask you to please continue to pray for his eternal repose and for the intentions of our diocese,” it said.
“In this time of sadness, the diocese must continue to journey, to move forward to do the mission entrusted by Jesus, our Good Shepherd,” the diocese added.
Sanchez will serve the post until Pope Francis names a successor to Macaraeg, who was laid to rest earlier in the day.
Prior to his new mandate, the priest has been serving as the diocese’s vicar general and rector of the Santuario de la Inmaculada Conception.
Macaraeg died on Oct. 23 due to cardiac arrest at the age of 67. He served the Tarlac diocese as his first episcopal assignment for around seven years.
Archbishop Florentino Lavarias of San Fernando presided over his funeral Mass at the San Sebastian Cathedral in the city of Tarlac.
“When death comes, our existence is overshadowed by darkness but that should also remind us that there is this shadow of death precisely because of the light,” Lavarias said in his homily.
“And that light we know is the Lord, the one who called us, the one who called our brother to become a servant, to become a priest and bishop, configured to Himself, and that is a source of our consolation,” he said.
Also present during the Mass were about 25 bishops and hundreds of priests. The bishop’s remains were interred behind the cathedral’s altar.