July 5, 2015, 7:10 p.m. – POPE Francis has appointed two Thomasian priests as auxiliary
bishops of Cebu, one of the country’s premier sees.

appointments of Msgr. Dennis Villarojo of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in
Cebu and Fr. Oscar Florencio, rector of Saint John the Evangelist School of
Theology (SJEST) in Palo, Leyte, were announced by the Vatican last July 3.

They will
serve as auxiliary bishops of Cebu along with Bishop Emilio Bataclan, who was
appointed in 1990. Bataclan however is set to retire in September when he
reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75.

Auxiliary bishops are assigned by the Pope to large dioceses that
require more than one bishop to effectively administer.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said he had requested the Congregation
of Bishops to add two auxiliary bishops in Cebu in preparation for the 51st
International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) on Jan. 24 to 31, 2016.

“There is a need for auxiliary bishops [because] Bishop Bataclan
is almost retiring and the IEC which will be happening in 2016. That is why I
gave an early request for two auxiliary bishops,” Palma told the Varsitarian.

Palma, who obtained his licentiate in Theology from UST in 1980,
said the importance of education and love for pastoral work would be some of
the qualities he expected to see from the two newly elected Thomasian auxiliary

“I think other [UST] graduates may share the same qualities, but
I’d like to believe that among others, the love for study, the love for the
Eucharist, and prayer are at the heart of education in UST; the desire to be a
priest for the people,” Palma said.

A native of Cebu, Villarojo completed his studies in philosophy at
the San Carlos College Seminary. He pursued theology and obtained his
licentiate in philosophy at UST. Villarojo later finished his doctorate in
philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He was
ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 1994.

Villarojo was secretary to Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo
Cardinal Vidal from 1994 to 1998. He now serves as the secretary general of the
51st IEC.

Florencio, currently the vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of
Palo, completed his philosophy studies at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo,
and theology at the University of Santo Tomas. He was ordained priest on April
3, 1990.

In 1999, Florencio obtained his licentiate and doctorate in Sacred
Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He then
returned to the SJEST, the archdiocesan seminary of Palo, where he became
rector in 2013. Marie
Danielle L. Macalino

(Images taken from CBCP News)


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