Bishop Manolo celebrates his 25th Episcopal Jubilee
posted 29-Oct-2019  ·  
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It was a grace-filled felicitous moment for the Diocese of Virac as Bishop Manolo de los Santos celebrated last October 10, 2019 his silver episcopal ordination and installation as the second bishop of Virac, succeeding Bishop Jose Sorra. 

This momentous celebration included a dinner-concert at the Catanduanes Convention Center of one of the most awarded choirs in the world, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the previous evening. The show was a concert tribute initiated by the ever-active cathedral parish groups “Friends of INA” and Angeli Domini Music Ministry for the ongoing renovation of the cathedral parish church and for the construction of the Diocesan clergy house. 

The pontifical concelebrated Mass which was presided over by the jubilarian himself, Bishop Manolo, started at 9 a.m. of October 10 together with 41 bishops/archbishops from all over the Philippines and close to a hundred priests.

The Mass was graced by the presence of the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Most Rev. Gabriele Caccia, Archbishop Romulo Valles, the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Msgr. Julien Kabore (Secretary-Nunciature) together with some heads of the CBCP who took a private plane the early morning of October 10 to join the celebration. 

Archbishop Rolando Tirona of the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres, a close friend of Bishop Manolo, was the preacher of the celebration.

Arch. Tirona, in his homily, described Manolo as a Bishop as “good shepherd, a shining icon giving light to those in darkness, an inspiration, a humble lowly servant who leads the faithful giving them fresh hopes.” He adds, “When Bishop Manolo smiles and laughs his eyes disappeared…and that is where fresh hopes come.” The youthful Archbishop continued by saying that the 25th episcopal celebration is not only a time for Bishop Manolo “to look with fondness with the glorious past but also a time of recommitment, an opportunity of renewal to manifest the mercy and compassion of God”. 

After the two-hour Mass, the congregation - mostly members of the Basic Faith Communities (BFC) from all over the Diocese - proceeded to the Plaza Rizal for the grand fellowship-agape and program prepared by the heads of the different BFCs. A program entitled “Recuerdo…A filial tribute to a Father” was indeed a joyful celebration of remembering the esteemed services to the Diocese of the dearly Bishop. Bishop Manolo was tearful when hearing testimonies coming from different sectors. 

The celebrating Bishop, a descendant of the Arcilla clan of Virac, was born in Basud, Camarines Norte on August 5, 1947, to the devout Catholic parents. He was the second child of ten children. He finished his elementary schooling at Caramoan Central School and high school at the United High School in Caramoan, Camarines Sur. He entered Holy Rosary Minor Seminary immediately after high school and he obtained his philosophical studies at the Holy Rosary Major Seminary. He then completed his theological studies at the University of Santo Tomas where he eventually earned Licentiate in Canon Law. After his priestly ordination on May 7, 1974, for the Archdiocese of Caceres, he was assigned as parochial vicar of Libmanan parish. He then became chancellor of the Archdiocese of Caceres, professor at the Holy Rosary Major Seminary, rector at the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. He was the parish priest of St. Anthony of Padua in Iriga City when he was elevated as the second Bishop of Virac on the 12th day of August 1994. He was ordained bishop on September 12, 1994, at the Basilica Minore of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Naga City. 

Mission greatly characterizes his 25 years of episcopacy. This is manifested in his creation of barangay mission churches to cater to the increasing needs of his flock. Moreover, he pioneered the creation of various basic faith communities in the Diocese that is why he was awarded by these communities as the "Father of BECs in Catanduanes". However, according to the jubilarian bishop, he continuously sustaining the faithful with kindness and uprightness of heart, not in his name but IN NOMINE DOMINI.

Congratulations, Bishop Manolo! Happy Anniversary!

CATHOLIC BISHOPS FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. joined the 25h Episcopal Jubilee celebration of Msgr. Manolo Alarkon delos Santos (with staff), Bishop of Virac, seen here flanked by Archbishop Rolando Tirona and Papal Nuncio Msgr. Ga-briele Giordano Caccia at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral last Oct. 10, 2019.
PHILIPPINE MADRIGAL SINGERS. during their concert for the Episcopal celebration
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