As new Archbishop of Cebu Palma installed today

01/13/2011 - CEBU, Philippines - Bishop Jose Palma arrived yesterday for his installation as the new archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cebu today.

On board Philippine Airlines Flight PR 857, Palma landed shortly before 3 p.m. at the Mactan Cebu International Airport, where he was welcomed by Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes, Msgr. Achilles Dakay and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza.

At the airport’s Most Important People (MIP) area, Palma was met by Msgr. Cayetano Gelbolingo, Rev. Fr. Augustine Polong, Fr. Jaime Duero, Cebu City Mayor Michel Rama, Central Command chief Lt. Gen. Ralph Villanueva and Regional Police Director Ager Ontog.

When Palma emerged from the MIP main door, he was bewildered to see a group of men and women from the Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. chanting his name to welcome him.

In proceeding to the Archbishops Palace, Palma’s convoy passed waiving schoolchildren and parishioners along the way.

The motorcade passed with ease through the major thoroughfares of Mandue City. Classes of schools along Palma’s route momentarily stopped as students went out to welcome him.

Some establishments also stopped their operations to let their employees join in welcoming Palma.

Yesterday’s 3 p.m. session of the Mandaue City Council was delayed for awhile as Mayor Jonas Cortes and the councilors met Palma, who made a three-minute stop at the city to mingle with Mandauehanons.

Students of St. Joseph Academy also presented a Sinulog dance in front of St Joseph Parish to welcome Palma.

Palma, in a statement after a brief talk with Cortes, said he was overwhelmed by the crowd that gathered to welcome him. His caravan then proceeded to Cebu City.

When Palma’s convoy passed Barangay Mabolo, hundreds of students from Mabolo Central School and parishioners headed by Fr. Joselito Danao gathered to great him.

The bells of Mabolo Parish Church rang as a sign of his arrival.

Acceptance

Palma’s convoy arrived at the Archbishops Palace where he was welcomed by his predecessor, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, at the St. Joseph Chapel.

Upon entering the chapel, Palma was handed a crucifix which he kissed as a symbol of his strong faith. He then blessed the faithful and himself with holy water.

Vidal opened the ceremony with a prayer asking God to guide and bless Palma as “as pastor of Christ” and to “watch over” his flock.

Following a deacon’s reading of a gospel, Palma knelt down and professed his faith through the Nicene Creed.

Palma then delivered his “oath of fidelity” in Latin, placing his hand on the Book of Gospels as an act of loyalty to the pope with the promise to protect the church.

Towards the end of the ceremony, Palma blessed the faithful which include members of the clergy, the parishioners and the media.

Palma said: “Nagasalig ako nga kita mga Cebuano magkahiusa kita ug magbuligay kita, mag inabangay aron atong probinsya ug simabahan motubo ug molambo.”

He is confident that he will have no problem adapting to his new place because he knows the capabilities of Cebuanos.

Sincerely

In his speech after dinner at the Sacred Heart Center, Vidal said: “I thank the Lord that he has given me the opportunity to welcome my successor, to install him in his cathedra and to wish him all the Lord’s blessings as he assumes office as archbishop of Cebu.”

“It is my wish this spirit of gratitude that I welcome Archbishop Joe Palma to his Archdiocese…Cebu might be a dynamo of progress in the Philippine but as you will see later in your first fiesta seƱor as Archbishop of Cebu, it is also a dynamo of faith,” Vidal said.

While Vidal is leaving his seat to his successor, he said he is not worried as he believes that Cebuanos will always help Palma.

Lawyer Pat Acabodillo, who will represent the entire lay community at Palma’s installation today, assured the new archbishop of full support of the lay community.

Installation

Today at 9 a.m. at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Palma will be installed and the new archbishop of Cebu.

Expected to attend are members of his family from Jaro, Ilo-ilo and friends from former assignments in Palo and Calbayog, Leyte.

Only pre-identified personnel are allowed to occupy the front pews of the cathedral, which are reserved for Palma’s family, friends, Cebu clergymen, bishops and guests.

The highlight of the installation will be when Palma is escorted by Vidal to the cathedra, which will symbolize the transfer of seat.

After the three-hour installation rites, Palma and guests will proceed to the Cebu International Convention Center for a thanksgiving lunch. (Freeman)

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