Pope picks Cebuano prelate as new Malolos bishop

Erik Tenedero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 15 2019 05:18 PM

Malolos Bishop-elect Dennis Villarojo. File photo from CBCP News

MANILA - Pope Francis has chosen a Cebuano prelate to serve as the new bishop of the Diocese of Malolos in Bulacan. 

The pope has appointed Most. Rev. Dennis Villarojo as the fifth bishop of Malolos, succeeding Bishop Jose Oliveros, who passed away in 2018 after a long battle with cancer. 

The Vatican made the announcement on Tuesday. 

Villarojo, 52, is currently serving as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Cebu. 

A report from Radio Veritas said the bishop-elect has accepted the appointment and is thankful for the trust the Pope has given him. 

Villarojo was ordained into priesthood in 1994 and then into episcopacy in 2015. He was named the Titular Bishop of Gisipa. 

The bishop-elect earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from the University of the Holy Cross in Rome. 

As a Cebuano priest of more than two decades, Villarojo held a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including as personal secretary to the late Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, who once served as coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Malolos. 

He was also appointed as secretary general of the 60th International Eucharistic Congress held in Cebu in 2016. 

Villarojo is set to lead a diocese with more than 3 million Catholics, more than 200 priests and more than 100 parishes — making it one of the largest dioceses in the Philippines. 

Since Bishop Oliveros' death, the diocese has been under the care of its apostolic administrator, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of the Diocese of Cubao in Quezon City.