Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 24 Oct 2019 12am







    Wednesday, October 23, 2019-2:25:15A.M.






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NMI has new bishop

THE Episcopal Ordination and installation of Bishop Ryan Jimenez of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa was celebrated on Sunday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral.

Top CNMI officials, including Gov. Ralph Torres, joined hundreds of devotees in the jam-packed cathedral to witness the historic installation of the second bishop of the diocese.

Father Ryan Jimenez succeeds his mentor, Bishop Tomas A. Camacho, 82, who ordained him to the priesthood in 2003. Bishop Camacho retired in April 2010. In Dec. 2010, Father Ryan was appointed apostolic administrator of the diocese by Pope Benedict XVI.

On Sunday, Father Ryan, 44, was ordained as bishop by Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, S.D.B., Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Agana, Guam.

Archbishop Hon Ta-Fai was joined by Bishop Emeritus Tomas Camacho of Saipan and Bishop Julito B. Cortes of Dumaguete as co-consecrators.

Bishop Jimenez, who served as a religious teacher on Rota in 1995, was born in Dumaguete in the central Philippines.

The ordination on Sunday began with Father Gerard D. Coleman, former rector of St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in California, where Father Ryan obtained his master’s, formally presenting the bishop-elect to the principal ordaining bishop.

   Father James Balajadia, as the chief record-keeper of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, then presented the Apostolic Letter — the official document from Pope Francis appointing Father Ryan as bishop.

The apostolic letter was addressed to Father Ryan and it stated that because of a vacancy due to Bishop Camacho’s resignation, “you, beloved son, seem to be capable to be placed in its command, because you are equipped with the necessary gifts and much experience in local pastoral matters. Therefore, as we occupy the Chair of Blessed Peter…[and] by our supreme Apostolic Authority, we bring to an end your ministry as apostolic administrator and appoint you bishop of Chalan Kanoa with all rights and obligations. We give permission that you receive the ordination from any Catholic bishop outside Rome according to the liturgical norms, after having made the profession of Catholic faith and taken the Oath of Fidelity toward us and our successors according to canon law.”

According to the apostolic letter, it must be read to the clergy and the people.

Before being ordained as bishop, Father Ryan made solemn promises to uphold the faith and fulfill the responsibilities of the Episcopal ministry.

He promised to serve until death, to preach the Gospel with fidelity, to guard the faith handed down from the Apostles, to build up and remain in union with the Body of Christ, the church.

Bishop Jimenez prostrated himself during the litany of supplication as a sign of submission, humility and dependence upon the mercy of God, the intercession of the saints, and the prayers of the church.

In his Episcopal Ordination message, the new bishop explained that he took his motto, “We would like to see Jesus” (Volumus lesum videre), from the Gospel of St. John. He also reflected on what it means to “see,” and what it means “to see Jesus.”

“I think seeing demands that we go down deep. Unless we do so, we simply remain on the surface. We will not fully understand.”

Bishop Ryan Jimenez poses with CNMI Supreme Court Justice Alexandro Castro, first lady Diann Torres, Gov. Ralph Torres, Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog, his wife Villia Marie Hocog, their daughter, Palau President Tommy Remengasau and Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang.  Photo by Bryan ManabatBishop Ryan Jimenez poses with CNMI Supreme Court Justice Alexandro Castro, first lady Diann Torres, Gov. Ralph Torres, Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog, his wife Villia Marie Hocog, their daughter, Palau President Tommy Remengasau and Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang. Photo by Bryan Manabat

He said his ordination is not about him, adding that “if we go down deep this is really about God, His goodness, His kindness, His faithfulness to His people.”

He hopes that he will always see the episcopacy “much more deeply so that I will always remember that this is not about me, that the episcopacy is not about power, but about humble service to God and his church.”

He told the congregation to remind him if he ever forgets which elicited chuckles.

“If we wish to follow Jesus, we have to make sacrifices. We have to imitate Christ Himself in living a life of total self-emptying,” the new bishop said.

He also talked about his Episcopal coat of arms. “In the middle quadrant of my Episcopal coat of arms, there are two representations of islands in green, to symbolize where I come from, the island of Siquijor in the central Philippines, and my ministry, the Northern Marianas. The wavy lines in blue depict the vast Pacific Ocean that separates the islands.”

According to the bishop, a Jesuit priest once said that the islands may be separated by water, “but if you look underwater, you will see — and this is rather clear — that the islands are not at all separated, but in fact are all connected.”

The bishop added, “Dear friends, we begin a new phase in our life as a church. As we begin this new phase, I appeal to you…to go deeper so that we can truly see that we all connected and not separated, and that we are made one by our faith in Christ.”

He also urged the faithful to know the Lord more intimately “through His word, and the sacraments, and by acts of charity.”

His “last” request: “Pray for me as your bishop — that I become a true pastor, a true shepherd, with the heart of our Lord. One who through humble service leads people to see and to encounter Jesus.”

The co-celebrating archbishops and bishops included the Reverend Peter Choy Long, Archbishop of Fiji; the Reverend Jose Palma Archbishop of Cebu; the Reverend Amando Samo, Bishop of the Caroline Islands; and the Reverend Daniel Parcon Bishop of Bohol.

The Clergy of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa were in full attendance and were joined by other priests from the Caroline Islands, the Philippines, San Francisco and San Jose, California.

The choir consisted of over 100 individuals from the different parishes of Saipan, singing in different languages to complement the ordination.

An island fiesta reception followed the ordination, and despite an advisory which forecast strong winds and rain, there was no downpour on Sunday morning although the sky was cloudy.

On Saturday, Aug. 13, in preparation for the bishop’s ordination, an evening prayer Mass was held in San Antonio. As prescribed by the Apostolic See, individuals who are called to exercise an office in the name of the Catholic Church are required to make the profession of faith. With Archbishop Peter Loy Chong as his witness, Father Ryan professed the faith that unites the faithful in Christ.

He also took an oath of fidelity on Saturday evening to preserve the oneness of communion that is the principle hallmark of the Catholic Church with Reverend James Balajadia and the clergy of the diocese as witnesses.