Bishops to decide on proposal to create 'personal prelature' for Filipino migrants

Published July 3, 2022, 11:41 AM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Catholic prelates will decide on a proposal to establish a “personal prelature” for Filipino migrants during their Plenary Assembly next weekend.


CBCP News said Msgr. Bernardo Pantin, secretary general of the episcopal conference, said the proposal will be on the table for decision during the bishops’ assembly from July 9 to 11 in Tagaytay City.

The competent authority to establish such ecclesiastical territory is the Vatican, but only after consultation with the bishops’ conference involved.

“If the decision is affirmative, the proposal will be sent to Rome for approval,” Pantin said.

A personal prelature is a church jurisdiction without geographical boundaries designed to carry out particular pastoral initiatives.

Pantin said it will have its own bishop and priests who will look after the pastoral care of Filipinos abroad.

“This is unique… if approved it will be a first in the whole Church,” Pantin said.

It was January 2020 when a Filipino priest serving in the U.S. Diocese of San Diego discussed with the CBCP about the necessity of such a prelature.

To further study the proposal, the bishops created an ad hoc committee composed of four episcopal commissions: canon law, migrants, clergy and seminaries.

“This is really to take care of Filipinos all over the world,” Fr. Agustin Opalalic said.

“The priests will not just go to their places as guests but as their pastors,” he added.

“If this happens, there will be Filipino priests who will be assigned to their places. This priest will be trained, formed, and oriented so that they can take care of them,” Opalic said.

As of 2019, the country’s foreign affairs estimates that there are over 10 million Filipinos overseas, three million of which are temporary migrants of overseas Filipino migrants.