After four years of being vacant, the Diocese of Alaminos has a new bishop.
Pope Francis on Sunday appointed Dominican Fr. Napoleon Sipalay to shepherd the diocese in Pangasinan province.
The appointment makes him the third Filipino Dominican to be elevated to the episcopate, following the late Archbishop Emeritus Leonardo Legazpi of Caceres, and the late Auxiliary Bishop Jose Salazar of Lipa.
Sipalay will succeed the then-bishop Ricardo Baccay, who was appointed as archbishop of Tuguegarao in October 2019 and formally installed on Jan. 14, 2020.
During the vacancy, the diocese has been under the care of Auxiliary Bishop Fidelis Layog of Lingayen-Dagupan as apostolic administrator.
Sipalay, 53, has been serving as the Vice-Rector of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Central Seminary since 2021.
He also previously held the position of prior provincial of the Dominicans in the country.
The bishop-elect made his first profession in the Dominican Order in 1991. He studied philosophy at the Philippine Dominican Center of Institutional Studies in 1992.
Sipalay also earned his bachelor’s degree in sacred theology at the university in 1995 and completed his licentiate in 1997. In the same year, he was ordained to the priesthood.
Before his assignment as a missionary in Sri Lanka, he served as the Assistant Master of Students and Novice Master. He spent nine years in Sri Lanka, from 2006 to 2015, during which he held various positions, including a teaching role at the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka in Kandy.
From 2009 to 2015, he also served as the secretary to the Committee for Religious Formation of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Sri Lanka.
Before being elected as the prior provincial in 2016, a position he held for four years, Sipalay served as the prior of the Priory of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Manaoag, Pangasinan.