ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 14 May) – Finally, the Archdiocese of Zamboanga has a new leader with the official installation Wednesday of Archbishop Romulo Dela Cruz.
Papal Nuncio Guiseppe Pinto, the Apostolic Nunciature to the Philippines, presided the installation of Dela Cruz in a ceremony held at the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Dela Cruz, 66, was named by Pope Francis as this city’s archbishop last March 15.
“I thank God for giving me this opportunity to serve the Zamboanga Archdiocese,” he said in a press conference.
Dela Cruz said he would have to listen to the local clergy and the laity to be able to know the issues and challenges confronting this city’s archdiocese.
“I am confident that the Lord who blesses us, who gives us the grace that we need, will help us go through our difficult days in Zamboanga if there are and if there will be,” he said.
Pontificio Istituto Missioni Estere (PIME) priest Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra said the installation of Dela Cruz “is a good moment for the Catholic Church” here that has been without a bishop for the past two years.
D’Ambra described Dela Cruz as a good leader.
Dela Cruz said being named as the Archbishop of this city is his fourth assignment since he became bishop in 1988.
Prior to his appointment, he served as bishop of Kidapawan City since June 2008, replacing Bishop Romulo Valles when the latter was named archbishop of this city.
Valles was made archbishop of Davao City last 2012 and since then Zamboanga did not have an archbishop.
Dela Cruz had also served as bishop of Basilan from 1988 and of Antique from 2001 until his appointment as bishop of Kidapawan.
The installation of Dela Cruz was witnessed by church dignitaries that include Valles, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, Archbishops Jose Advincula of Capiz, Jose Palma of Cebu, Rolando Tirona of Caceres, Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro and bishops from nearby provinces and cities of Mindanao as well as local government officials and catholic faithful.