New San Fernando archbishop named

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- His Holiness Pope Francis appointed on Friday Bishop Florentino Galang Lavarias, now Bishop of the Diocese of Iba, as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Fernando.

This, as the Holy Father accepted the resignation presented by Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, now 77 years-old, from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of San Fernando (Philippines), in accordance with canon 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law, which requires the resignation of bishops at the age of 75.

Bishop Lavarias, DD, 57, was born in Santa Ines, Mabalacat town. He was ordained a priest on September 26, 1985. Pope John Paul II appointed him Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Iba on June 19, 2004. He was ordained bishop on August 12, 2004. Lavarias also served at the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary in various positions and was former parish priest of the Parish of the Lord’s Ascension at Lourdes Heights Subdivision in this city.


Lavarias has also held various committees at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. He was chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Vocations and recently the chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Clergy.

He will be the fourth Archbishop to hold the Metropolitan See upon his installation and formal canonical possession of the archdiocese, which may happen anytime soon upon his receipt of the apostolic letter of appointment from the Vatican.

Lavarias will replace the much beloved retired Archbishop Paciano “Apu Ceto” Aniceto who has served the Metropolitan See for almost three decades. Aniceto has been an influential voice in the province and has stirred much of the Catholic Church's development in recent years.

Aniceto started his vocation at the Mater Boni Minor Seminary which was located in those early years in Apalit in 1954, moving later to the Jesuit-run San Jose Seminary in 1956 for his Philosophy studies, until finally being ordained to the Order of Melchisedec in December 23, 1962. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Tuguegarao City and Titular Bishop of Tlos on April 7, 1979. He was consecrated as a Bishop on May 27, 1979. His Principal Consecrator was Saint John Paul II.

Since assuming the Archdiocese of San Fernando in 1989, Apu Ceto created new parishes to address the growing pastoral concerns of his flock. He carved more of these after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, particularly in resettlement sites to provide for the spiritual needs of displaced Kapampangans in diaspora who bonded in small communities.

His popularity even earned for him a play about his life which was staged a couple of years ago by ArtiSta.Rita.

Asked what he will do when he finally retires, Aniceto said: “I will write something. Books, based on my compilations. I would stay at Domus Padtorum [Bale Pari or Home for Retired Priests at the Social Action Center of Pampanga] because I would like to live in a community and be close to God as ever.”

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 27, 2014.

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