Ex-Cathedral parish priest now vicar general

THE former head of pastors of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral has been appointed as one of two vicar generals of the Archdiocese of Cebu.

Monsignor Ruben Labajo, who currently serve as team moderator of the St. Francis de Assisi Parish in Balamban town, was appointed by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma as one of his vicar generals.

The announcement was made during the 11 a.m. mass for the clergy and reunion at the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos chapel last Friday, Dec. 27, 2019.

Labajo formally replaced Msgr. Danilo Sanico as vicar general. Sanico is currently the team moderator of the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne in Barili town and was also appointed as the Archdiocese’s vicar for guest priests.

Labajo will be working with current vicar general Msgr. Vicente Rey Penagunda. Penagunda was reappointed to the position following a vote among the clergy.

Under the Code of Canon Law, a vicar general possesses the same executive power as the bishop in the archdiocese.

“The vicar general is the deputy of the bishop. He is the representative or the alter-ego of the bishop,” said Msgr. Renato Beltran Jr., chancellor of the Archdiocese.

Aside from Labajo, the Archdiocese of Cebu also appointed seven new episcopal vicars, bishops assigned to the pastoral supervision of a part of a Roman Catholic diocese, for the seven districts.

These include Fr. Benny Tao for Metro Cebu North; Msgr. Rogelio Fuentes for Metro Cebu South; Msgr. Jojo Dosado for Southeast Cebu; Msgr. Phil Tumulak for Southwest Cebu; Fr. Jed Billones for Northwest Cebu; Fr. Soc Saldua for Far North Cebu; Fr. Mike Hisoler for Near North Cebu, and Fr. Marcelino Jorge Agravante Jr., for Bantayan Island.

Beltran said their appointments will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Separately, Labajo said though his new appointment entails “a lot of sacrifice” for his part but he is thankful for the trust and confidence Palma has given him.

“(I’m thankful that) despite my weaknesses or limitations and shortcomings, but still he appointed me as his vicar general of the archdiocese,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

“I have to prepare myself for the upcoming big tasks. I am preparing spiritually, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. I don’t deserve this but it’s here, I have to obey,” he added.

Labajo, 53, was also a former team moderator of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and the episcopal vicar for the Metro Cebu North. (WBS)