The new prior provincial of the Philippine Province of the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, was formally installed Tuesday, Feb. 2.
The ceremony formally installing Father Filemon Dela Cruz, Jr. was held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, La Naval de Manila in Quezon City.
In his speech, the 57-year-old Dela Cruz prayed that, like Jesus, the province will grow “stronger, full of wisdom, learning from our mistakes in the past.
He also expressed hope that they will find favor in God as a province and as individuals.
Dela Cruz recited the profession of faith and Oath of Fidelity before Bro. Napoleon Sipalay OP, who ended his term after serving the post since October 2016.
Dela Cruz was canonically elected by the brothers gathered in the 12th Provincial Chapter in Nasugbu, Batangas on Jan. 17, 2021.
Born on January 19, 1964, in Manila, he entered the Dominican Pre-Novitiate in June 1980 and was vested with the habit of the Order on May 11, 1983.
Dela Cruz made his simple profession on May 11, 1984 and his solemn profession on May 11, 1987.
He was ordained to the priesthood on April 30, 1992 by Most Rev. Camilo D. Gregorio, DD, then Bishop of Bacolod.
He studied in Espiritu Santo Parochial School in Santa Cruz, Manila and earned his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the Philippine Dominican Center of Institutional Studies (PDCIS) in 1986, his canonical degree of Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (SThB) in 1991 and his Masteral degree in Theology (MA) in 2006 from the University of Santo Tomas (UST).
In terms of ministries, Dela Cruz was Master of Students in 1992-1996; Master of Novices in 1996-2000; Promoter of the Dominican Clerical Fraternity in 2012-2014; Provincial Councilor in 2012-2016; Socius of the Prior Provincial in 2014-2016; he served in many ministries in the University of Santo Tomas from 2001-2017; and Superior of the Dominican community of the Rumah Santo Tomas in Surabaya, Indonesia, from 2017 to 2020.
Prior to his election, he was a newly assigned brother to the House of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companion Martyrs in Navotas.
The Dominican Province of the Philippines said Dela Cruz will serve as prior provincial for the next four years.