By Christina Hermoso
The new archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cotabato, Bishop Angelito Lampon, will be formally installed and will take canonical possession of the archdiocese in January 31 next year.
He succeeds Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, 79, whose resignation was accepted by Pope Francis last Tuesday. The mandatory retirement age for bishops is 75 years old.
Bishop Lampon sees his new assignment “as his journey of faith. Will I be obedient to God? Will I give Him my all? Wherever you are, there is always a particular challenge. For me, this is more of a journey of faith to transfer residence from Jolo to Cotabato. The pastoral challenges are there among many other challenges. But for me, this is very personal – the call of God, of Jesus Christ to His Church for me to relocate to Cotabato,” Lampon said over Church-run Radio Veritas.
The archbishop-elect served as bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo for 21 years prior to his new assignment. Then Pope John Paul II appointed him to the post in 1997.
With the transfer of the 68-year-old prelate to Cotabato, ten dioceses are currently ‘sede vacante’ or without a bishop including the Dioceses of Butuan, Daet, Ilagan, Iligan, Isabela de Basilan, Malolos, Military Ordinariate, San Jose de Antique, San Jose Mindoro, and Jolo Sulu.
Two more Church leaders in Mindanao are already of retirement age, Cagayan De Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, who is 75, and Pagadian Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar, who is 76.