Cardinal Quevedo retires; Jolo Bishop Lampon is new Archbishop of Cotabato

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 November) – Pope Francis on Tuesday named Bishop Angelito Lampon of the Vicariate of Jolo as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Cotabato, following the retirement of Mindanao’s lone Cardinal, Orlando B. Quevedo.

Quevedo and Lampon are both from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

The announcement posted by the Holy See Press Office, said the Pope “has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Cotabato, Philippines, presented by His Eminence Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I.”

Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, Archbishop of Cotabato, Mindanao’s first and only Cardinal. MindaNews file photo by TOTO LOZANO

Quevedo was named Cardinal on January 12, 2014, was elevated to Cardinal in rites held in the Vatican on February 22, just a few days before he was to celebrate his 75th birthday on March 11.

According to Canon Law, Bishops who reach the age of 75 tender their resignation for retirement. “On March 11, when I turn 75, I will write a letter of resignation according to the Canon Law, for retirement. If you’re still in good health and you have been morally upright then the Pope might say you can still work for one or two years. It depends on him whether to accept the resignation. I was really hoping that my resignation would be accepted but now it’s almost like moot and academic. I can’t retire until I reach the age of 80. If you’re Cardinal, they let you function until you reach the age of 80,” Quevedo told MindaNews in an interview a few days after he was named Cardinal.

News about Quevedo’s retirement and appointment of Lampon was first posted on Facebook by Fr. Ramon Bernabe, OMI, 2nd Assistant General (for Mission), who is now based in Rome.

“Reached for comment, Quevedo, who is turning 80 on March 11 next year, told MindaNews “the resignation and appointment were under strict papal embargo until November 6 at 7 p.m. our time.”

“Do this or do that, speak here or there, but…”

Quevedo said he will serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Archbdiocese of Ctoabato until Arcbhishop-Elect Lampon will be installed on January 31, 2019.

He said he is “gradually transferring to the retirement home built by the Archdiocese for my retirement that was supposed to have taken place when I reached 75 on March 11, 2014. Instead the Pope made me Cardinal two months before March 11.”

He will retire in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat but expects he will still be kept busy to “do this or that, speak here or there” but adds he can be “selective” now.

“I expect there will be more requests for me to do this or that, speak here or there. I have been busy giving talks in Asia and Europe the past 10 years. Now I can be selective on what to accept,” he said.

The Cardinal will also be kept busy writing books.

“Maybe I shall begin writing the book that the Society of St. Paul Publications has long been wanting me to write. They got samples of materials I have written and I was told that they can make up five books!!!” Quevedo said in an e-mailed reply to MindaNews.

Bishop of Jolo for 20 years

The 68-year old Lampon has been Bishop of Jolo for 20 years. He was named Bishop of the Vicariate of Jolo on November 21, 1997 and was consecrated on January 6, 1998.

He was born in M’lang, Cotabato on March 1, 1950 and was ordained priest on March 26, 1977.

Jolo Bishop Angelito Lampon, OMI, (L) chair of the Episcopal Commission on Inter-religious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philppines and Atty. Haron Meling, one of two representatives of MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal at the “Conversations on Peacebuilding in Mindanao” on April 9, 2014 at the Ateneo de Davao University. MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

He served as deputy parish priest in Lebak, Sultan Kudarat and in the Cathedral of Cotabato from 1977 to 1978; was a member of staff of the Cotabato City Seminary from 1979 to 1981; in the South Asian Interdisciplinary Institute (SIADI) in Intramuros, Manila from 1981 to 1982; was director of postulants and scholastics of the OMI from 1982 to 1988; Provincial Superior of the OMI Philippine Provine from 1988 to 1992; and counsellor general of the OMI at their general administration in Rome from 1992 to 1997.

Lampon was a member of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Commission on Biblical Apostolate from 2003 to 2007; member of the CBCP Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education.

Lampon served as member of the CBCP Commission on Interreligious Dialogue from 2003 to 2009, was its vice chair from 2009 to 2011 and chair from 2011 to 2015.

From 2011 to 2013, Lampon served as member of the CBCP Commission on Indigenous Peoples; and was vice chair of the CBCP Commission on Mission.

Within the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines he was president of the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue (2011-2017), and he is now president of the Commission for Ecumenical Affairs. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)