Fr. Julius Tonel, who served as vicar general of the archdiocese of Davao and concurrent Parish Priest of San Pablo Parish in Davao City, was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to head the Prelature effective June 30, the Catholic Media Network reported on July 2.
The Prelature of Ipil has been without a bishop for at least a year now following the appointment of then Ipil Bishop Antonio Ledesma as Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro.
The priest told Catholic radio DXGN Davao Monday that he was elated over his appointment and that he would sit with and listen to his parishioners upon installation.
But he called on Bossi’s captors to release the Italian priest whom he considers a “true gift to the church in the province.” He said priests should be respected as they are merely doing their role in the Church. Abduction, he said, is an injustice.
The Vatican had earlier appealed for the release of Father Bossi.
The newly-appointed bishop called for more prayers for the priest’s freedom. He said he couldn’t see it appropriate for priests to be accompanied by security personnel as a result of the kidnapping.
He said it is difficult for a church worker to be trailed by security as it might create a sense of fear.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have launched joint operations to pursue the abductors but nearly a month after the kidnapping, Bossi remains a captive with no confirmation of his safety or the identity of his captors.