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Priests in 59 parishes reshuffled

First Posted 09:28:00 01/27/2008

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NEW assignments were announced in a reshuffling of priests ordered by Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

The changes , affecting at least 59 parishes, will take effect before Feb. 6, Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season, according to the Bag-ong Lungsoranon, offiical weekly newsletter of the Cebu church.

The list shows Fr. Joey Belciña, who was embroiled in child abuse charges in Danao City until the female complainant withdrew her case last year, given a new assignment in Minglanilla town.

He was named one of the six-member team ministry, to serve Minglanilla parish in replacement of Msgr. Esteban Binghay.

Binghay, one of the episcopal vicars in the Cebu Archdiocese, will remain in Minglanilla parish, but is also assigned as resident rector of the Theotokos Archdiocesan Shrine.

Big parishes will be given a team ministry composed of several priests, instead of just one parish priest.

At least 31 parishes will be given new parochial vicars (coadjutors or assistant parish priests), resident or guest priests.

Msgr. Achilles Dakay, media liaison officer of the Cebu Archdiocese, said the reshuffling will affect over a third of Cebu?s 149 parishes.

Most of those affected have served over five years as parish priests and 3 years as assistant parish priests.

The newletter?s editorial said priests should not stay permanently in one assignment.

?Kalabot sa kinabuhi ug ministeryo sa usa ka pari ang realidad nga dili siya mogamot sa usa ka dapit, nga mabalhinon ang kinaiya sa iyang pangalagad (Part of the life of a priest is the reality of not taking root in one place but to learn to adjust to transfer his service to other places as well," wrote editor Fr. Marnell Mejia.

Mejia said the reshuffling will give priests a chance to measure his ability to accept change.

The reshuffle will be initially dificult for a priest since he has developed friendships over the years in the place he was assigne bu definitely the wound will heal in his new assignment.

Msgr. Dakay in an interview said the reshuffling was long overdue and would be implemented before the Lenten Season.

Dakay said the cardinal wanted everything in place for the 75th anniversary of the Cebu Archdiocese on April 28, 2009. (The Archdiocese of Cebu was declared on April 28, 1934)

?We are looking to effect some changes in time of the Cebu Archdiocese anniversary?, he said.

Dakay said priests should adapt to any new challenge presented by the new parish assignment..

Episcopal vicars and vicars forane in all the districts of the Archdiocese will conduct the Rite of Installation in the parishes within their jurisdiction.

Msgr. Binghay, the episcopal vicar from Naga to Buhisan Cebu city parishes, said most of the priests under his jurisdiction will be installed on January 31.

Binghay said he will still be based in Minglanilla but the parish will be run by the Team Ministry headed by moderator Fr. Scipio Deligero and his five members Fr. Belciña, Fr. Oscar Ornopia, Fr. Ladislao Tangente, Fr. Oscar Banzon, and Fr. Hernani Bercede.

Msgr. Dakay said Minglanilla will be manned with a team ministry instead of one parish priest because it?s a big parish.

Dakay said this is also the first assignment of Fr. Belciña after the child abuse case was dropped.

He said during the l controversy, Belciña was not barred from officiating mass or hearing confession, though he was on floating status. Belcina was then parish priest of St. Francis of Assissi parish in Maslog, Danao City.

Two other controversial priests in Pardo, Msgr. Constantino Diotay and Fr. Domingo Tapic, who were petitioned by some residents, were also transferred but Dakay said the controversy in Pardo has nothing to do with their transfer. Correspondent Jhunnex Napallacan

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