MANILA — Pope Francis has named a new bishop of the Diocese of Naval.
The appointment of 49-year-old Monsignor Rex Ramirez, a priest of the Archdiocese of Palo, was announced on Friday by the Vatican’s nunciature in Manila, according to an article posted at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website.
The bishop-elect will be the second bishop of the diocese, which comprises the whole island of Biliran and the northwestern tip of Leyte province.
He will succeed Bishop Filomeno Bactol whose resignation was accepted by the pontiff two years after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75 for prelates. He had served the diocese since 1988.
The Balangiga, Easter Samar-born Ramirez is currently serving as Rector of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Cathedral.
He was also instrumental in the preparation and during the 2015 visit of Pope Francis to Leyte, being the second-in-command to Archbishop John Du.
After high school and philosophy courses at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo, he completed his theology studies at the Loyola School of Theology at the Ateneo De Manila University.
He was ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Palo on March 27, 1995. He then carried out for the first two years of his ministry the service of special secretary to the archbishop.
From 1997 to 2007, he studied at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm, an educational institute in Rome established under papal jurisdiction, where he obtained a Licentiate in Liturgy.
During the same decade, he exercised his pastoral ministry first with the Filipino community in the parish of San Leone Magno in Rome (1998-2002), and then as resident chaplain at the House of spiritual exercises of the Suore Missionarie del Sacro Costato in Rome and chaplain of the Filipino community of La Storta in the diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina.
Upon his return to Leyte, he served as professor and spiritual director at the Saint John the Evangelist School of Theology in Palo from 2007-2014, and the coordinator of the lay apostolate in the east district of the archdiocese and the archdiocesan liturgical Commission and member of the presbyteral council.
In 2013, he became rector of the Sacred Heart Seminary until he was appointed to administer the Palo cathedral in 2014.