Bishops, clergy visit Naval to join episcopal anniversary rites for Bishop of Naval
by Flor Jackson
Naval, Biliran (19 October) -- The day, Tuesday, October 17, 2006 is a very memorable occasion for His Excellency Most Reverend Filomeno Bactol, Bishop of the Diocese of Naval as he celebrates his silver Episcopal ordination anniversary here in Naval, the capital town of Biliran province.
The town of Naval was set in a festive mood since yesterday as preparations were set for the grand affair today and as the bishops, the clergy and the religious sisters and other guests from all over Eastern Visayas and from other places as far as Dumaguete, Iloilo, Manila to include guest priests from Sarawak, Indonesia started arriving to join Bishop Bactol on this occasion.
A welcome dinner party at the Naval Institute of Technology (NIT) gymnasium was tendered to honor Bishop Bactol on the eve of the big day, and to welcome all the guests which include Msgr. Pedro R. Dean, Archbishop Emeritus of Palo; Msgr. Angel Hobayan, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Catarman; Msgr. Leonardo Medroso, Bishop of Borongan and Msgr. Jose Mari Delgado, Rector of the St. Vincent Seminary in the Archdiocese of Jaro, Iloilo who are attending the celebration.
The evening was also graced by the former First Lady of the Philippines, Madame Imelda Romualdez Marcos who was elegantly dressed in her blue terno.
She was accompanied by Mrs. Luz Mate, former fist lady of the city of Tacloban, former Congresswoman of Masbate Luz Bacunawa, Mrs. Lily Montejo and Mr Odon Sabarre, artist in residence of Region 8 and a ballet dance scholar to Russia sponsored by Mrs. Marcos - all are close friends of Mrs. Marcos and of Bishop Bactol.
Local officials of the province were also present led by Mayor Gerardo G. Espina, Sr.
A cultural presentation was arranged by the priests from the diocese of Naval together with the religious sisters, faculty and students of the Cathedral School of La Naval to honor Bishop Bactol and to entertain the guests.
Part of the activities of the cultural night was a video presentation highlighting the life of Bishop Bactol since he entered the seminary, became priest - until his Episcopal ordination and his appointment as bishop of the diocese of Naval up to the present.
Messages given by his close friends and other religious personalities were likewise shown in the video presentation and all they could wish for the Bishop is good health, more success and fulfillment of his dreams in his chosen vocation.
For his part, Msgr. Pedro Dean, expressed his thanks to Bishop Bactol publicly for his cooperation during his stint as Archbishop of Palo.
He gave this piece of advice to the honoree as he said "you welcome worries, disappointments, burdens because these humps in life are not to give you problems but to ask you to go slow so that you can reach the peak of fulfillment of your life as bishop and as servant of God.
"I hope you can reach the golden years of your episcopacy", he said.
Meanwhile, the silver Episcopal ordination anniversary of Msgr. Filomeno Bactol, Bishop of Naval today was highlighted with a Pontifical concelebrated mass.
The mass was attended by six bishops from region 8 to include Msgr. Pedro R. Dean, Archbishop Emeritus of Palo; Msgr. Emmanuel Trance, Bishop of Catarman and Msgr. Angel Hobayan, Bishop Emeritus of Catarman; Msgr. Maximiano Cruz, Bishop Emeritus of Calbayog; Msgr. Isabelo Abarquez, Auxiliary Bishop of Palo; Msgr. Leonardo Medroso, Bishop of Borongan and some 100 priests from all over region 8 and other parts of the Visayas area to include the priests from the diocese of Naval as concelebrants with Bishop Bactol, the honoree, as the main celebrant.
Bishop Medroso who was the homilist, described Bishop Bactol, who has no other ambitions in life but to serve God as a priest and bishop, is a very simple person who makes every bishop's meeting and gathering alive further saying that he is dearly missed whenever he is not around because of his bright ideas and skills in planning.
"The honoree is keen about discipline and he always work hard for the good of the community - trabaho lang walang personalan" Msgr. Medroso further said.
Earlier, after the processional, the message of Archbishop Fernando Filoni, D.D. Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines was read congratulating Bishop Bactol and wishing him to sustain more years of his episcopacy.
Likewise, the message of Pope Benedict XVI from the Vatican City l was read in Italian language by Fr. Benjie Pantas, pairsh priest of Caibiran in Biliran province and in the Cebuano dialect by Msr. Silas Florencio also of the Diocese of Naval.
The Pope sent his warm greetings to the honoree and told him to continue guarding his flock as he moves on in his journey.
He appreciated the honoree for his very fruitful stint as Rector of Palo Seminary.
Before the Pontifical concelebrated mass ended, Bishop Bactol who has no other ambition in life but to serve God as a priest and bishop, delivered a message thanking all his guests for their valued presence on said occasion.
"I am speechless", he said as he paused for a while and started saying thank you to the six bishops in Region 8 present, the priests from the different parts of region 8, Visayas area and from Indonesia, the religious sisters from various congregations and other distinguished guests which include former First Lady Imelda Marcos, Congresswoman Remedios Petilla of the first district of Leyte, Former Mayor of Tacloban City Uldarico Mate and his wife Mrs. Luz Mate, and Naval Mayor Gerry Espina. (PIA-Biliran) [top]