DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 March) – Kidapawan Bishop Romulo dela Cruz has been named by Pope Francis as the new Archbishop of Zamboanga, Vatican Radio announced Saturday.
Dela Cruz, 66, has been serving as Bishop of Kidapawan since June 2008, succeeding Bishop Romulo Valles who was named Archbishop of Zamboanga in 2007.
[caption id="attachment_53947" align="alignleft" width="640"] Kidapawan Bishop Romulo dela Cruz at the thanksgivinig mass of Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato, last Tuesday, March 11 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cotabato City. Pope Francis has named dela Cruz as the new Archbishop of Zamboanga. MindaNews photo by Toto Lozano[/caption]
For the second time, Romulo dela Cruz is succeeding his namesake, Romulo Valles, who was installed Archbishop of Davao in May 2012.
When Valles left Zamboanga for Davao City in May 2012, no Archbishop of Zamboanga was assigned until the March 15, 2014 announcement. In June 2008 when dela Cruz assumed the post of Kidapawan Bishop, the Diocese had been without a Bishop since January 2007.
Dela Cruz had served as Bishop of Basilan from 1988 and Bishop of Antique from 2001 until his appointment as Bishop of Kidapawan.
He was born in Basalan town in Iloilo but his parents migrated to Mindanao when he was very young. He spent his elementary years in Tampakan, South Cotabato an and his high school at the Notre Dame in Kidapawan.
According to the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Valles went to the Notre Dame Archdiocesean Seminary in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao from 1963 to 1964; Notre Dame University in Cotabato City from 1964 to 1966; St. Francis Xavier Major Seminary in Davao City from 1966 to 1969 where he finished AB Philosophy and the Regional Major Seminary in Davao City from 1969 to 1973 for Theology and took further studies at the Ateneo Summer Institute on Pastoral Counseling in Quezon City in 1977 then to the Institute on Religious Forumation in St. Louis, Missouri from 1981 to 1982.
Cruz was Assistant Rector of the Notre Dame Archdiocesan Seminary in Cotabato from 1973 to 1975; served as parish priest of Tacurong in Sultan Kudarat from 1975 to 1976; was rector of the Notre Dame Archdiocesan Seminary in Cotabato from 1976-1983 and its spiritual director from 1987 to 1988; was coadjutor Bishop of Isabela in Basilan from 1988 to 1989 and Prelate Ordinary in Basilan from 1989.
Two Mindanao bishops have been appointed to a higher post this year. On January 12, Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, was named as one of 19 new Cardinals worldwide, the first for Mindanao. He was formally elevated as Cardinal on February 22 at the Vatican.
Dela Cruz’ appointment as archbishop was announced at the Vatican on March 15. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)