JOLO BISHOP’s MESSAGE: It’s so beautiful, so wonderful, to receive the Lord in simplicity

The sixth Bishop of Jolo, Charlie M. Inzon.

(‘Thank you’ message of Jolo Bishop Charlie M. Inzon, OMI,  on his ordination on Thursday, 21 May 2020 at the Immaculate Concetion Cathedral in Cotabato City) .

I thank you Lord and our Blessed Mother for this gift of episcopacy.

I have received abundant blessings already from the Lord, and this gift of episcopacy is essentially not for me but for the people you have entrusted for me to love, to care, to feed and to guide.

Cardinal Orly reminds me in his homily about the essence of this call and of this office – to preach, to sanctify, and to govern, all for God’s sake. I ask you dear friends to please pray that I may be given the courage and vision to lead people closer to the Lord, to give sight to the blind, food to the hungry, hope for  those in trouble, light to those in darkness, and meaning of life to those who are lost and to offer relief to people severely affected by the continuous onslaught of this COVID-19 pandemic.

Some friends asked me about how I feel about my ordination in the context of COVID-19, where there are only ten of us in this celebration, where the social world is re-ordering forcibly and painfully. I said to them that my celebration is no thrills, no frills but plain and simple, pure, and meaningful consecration  …. for the  Lord himself is the center that shines and stands out as I receive His Holy Spirit through my Bishop-consecrators. It’s so beautiful, so wonderful, to receive the Lord in simplicity. The Lord … is the center of the celebration.  And I am truly grateful.  All the essentials are present. So free. So cool. No chains, no restrictions can stop us from receiving and celebrating God’s gifts, God’s grace is super abundant and unrestrained. It is Him that we want and desire. …

This celebration is rare and unprecedented as well as restricted — with 10 people in attendance – but of course with thousands watching. I have no doubt about the validity and Catholicity of this celebration.What more can I ask? Before my ordination, I feel so privilege to be quarantined with great people around me who prepared me spiritually, physically and psychologically for this great event in my life. Fr. Ben Gomez, my retreat master, gave me a one-week retreat and eight weeks of guidance with his  reassuring presence. And the rest are day to day celebration of life with fellow Oblates at the Provincial House.

At this point allow me now to mention some of them..

My parents, my siblings, relatives and childhood friends for their unconditional love and friendship. I have a lot of good memories with my family in my hometown in Putiao, Pilar, Sorsogon.

My special gratitude to my Oblate family for nurturing my missionary Oblate values.  My formators in the seminary, most especially, Archbishop Lampon, my principal consecrator, who assigned me in Jolo after my graduation in Philosophy… I still vividly recall when he promoted all of my classmates straight to theology in Manila and excluded me because he said, I was not yet ready. He gave so many reasons and excuses why Jolo should be a good place for me before theology. He said, ‘Jolo will make or break you.’  I did not understand then his decision. Now it’s crystal clear why that should happen.

So now, I will never question the decision of Archbishop Lampon. Never doubt the wisdom of a simple and prayerful man who is always talking with God, who is always praying. Thank you my dear Archbishop Lampon.

I visited him few days after the announcement – we talked with few words but more of profound silence. Then he led me like a real father to a child, to the chapel and gave me four miters, then this chasuble and also his skull cap that I use now.

I could not move around to buy other items needed for this consecration, but the Holy Spirit led me the way. Where? to our memorabilia at the Provincial House. So this ring and pastoral staff are from Bishop Ben de Jesus – the 4th Vicar Apostolic of Jolo; this pectoral cross and my cassock are from Bishop Smith, the 2nd Vicar Apostolic of Jolo. My miter and chasuble are from Archbishop Lampon, the 5th Vicar Apostolic of Jolo. My predecessors saw to it that I be ordained and installed.

I am sure Bishop Ben … they are watching now – so happy, and probably watchful to be sure that I return their episcopal memorabilia….

I thank also my three former provincials who assigned me to Jolo – Fr. Phil, Peding and Ramon and of course Msgr Julien, Cardinal Tagle and Pope Francis who appointed me to be Vicar Aposlolic of Jolo. Talagang itinalaga ang buhay ko sa Jolo – ilang beses balik-balik. Ang sarap balik-balikan ika nga.

My gratitude to my consecrators – Archbishop Lampon, Cardinal Orly and Bishop Colin. Your constant assurance and effort of coming here despite restrictions mean a lot to me as your toddler brother Bishop. I asked Cardinal Orly to give me a copy of his homily because his thoughts to me are brilliant and I love listening to his talks and homilies. Bishop Colin, thank you always for your friendship and keeping the fire and passion for peace and justice.

To my beloved friends and people in the Vicariate of Jolo and Cotabato, I appreciate your presence virtually in this celebration.

To my diocesan bothers who eagerly and patiently helped for this celebration, most especially the rector of this Cathedral – Monsignor Ben Toretto. And all the religious families within the Archdiocese, daghang salamat.

To my NDU family and Oblate family who prepared almost all things needed for this celebration. And for those friends in Cotabato City and nearby towns. Thank you.

To FB live streaming viewers around the world, I appreciate so much your love, concern and presence. Daghang Salamat!

… See you during the installation.

May I ask your prayer as I fulfill my calling as shepherd of the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo on behalf of our Holy Father – that I may be given the courage and vision – to do exactly and precisely what He wants. I know it will not be easy, but I believe with certainty that God will always be with me to accomplish His will for the People of God in the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo. To one and all thank you very much and God Bless you.

Bishop of Jolo’s ordination in the time of COVID-19: only 10 in the Cathedral but historic event livestreamed 

HOMILY: The Vicariate of Jolo is a privileged place for inter-religious dialogue