Cagayan de Oro has new archbishop

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 24 June) – The archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro has a new archbishop.

Bishop Jose Cabantan of Malaybalay officiates a Mass at the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral in Cagayan de Oro City on 7 August 2019. Behind him (left) is Archbishop Antonio Ledesma. Bishop Cabantan is the new archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, after being appointed by Pop Francis on 23 June 2020. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

The Catholic Bishops Conference in the Philippines announced that Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Jose Cabantan, bishop of Malaybalay, to replace Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma.

The Pope’s announcement was made in Rome 12 noon Tuesday or 6 p.m. in the Philippines.

Ledesma retired last year after reaching the mandatory age for bishops at 75 years old.

He has been serving as archbishop in temporary capacity while waiting for Vatican’s decision on who will replace him.

Cabantan, 63, was born in Lagonglong town in Misamis Oriental. He was a chemical engineer before he was ordained priest at the age of 32 on April 30, 1990 at St. John the Baptist Parish, also in Lagonglong town.

He is the first to be appointed as archbishop from St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro where he earned a degree in Pastoral Ministry.

Cabantan also holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Loyola School of Theology at the Ateneo de Manila University.

As a priest, Cabantan headed the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese’s Social Action Center and was the parish priest of the church of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in barangay Lumbia, this city.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Bishop of Malaybalay on Feb. 17, 2010. He was ordained bishop on April 30, 2010 at St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral, Cagayan de Oro City and was installed at San Isidro Cathedral, Malaybalay on May 15, 2010.

In an interview on the church-run dxDB-Malaybalay Wednesday, Cabantan said he did not expect the appointment “kay daghan man ang mas maayo, pero basin nibalibad ang uban” (because many others are more qualified, but maybe they declined).

He said they have scheduled his installation as archbishop on August 28 to coincide with the Feast of Saint Augustine, the patron saint of Cagayan de Oro.

He added that only a few people may be allowed to attend the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On the other hand, Myrna Siose of the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese, said Ledesma will be active on his environmental advocacies after his retirement.

Siose said Ledesma will retire in Cagayan de Oro where he will concentrate in working with non-government organizations. (Froilan Gallardo with H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)