(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday appointed a new bishop to the Diocese of Naval in Philippines. Monsignor Rex C. Ramirez of the Archdiocese of Palo was currently the Vicar General of the same Archdiocese. Msgr. Rex Ramirez takes over from Bishop Filomeno Bactol who has retired.
Msgr. Rex C. Ramirez was born in Balangiga, Ester Samar, in the Archdiocese of Palo on December 15, 1967. After completing High School and Philosophy Courses at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo, he studied theology at the Loyola School of Theology at the Manila University.
He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Palo on March 27, 1995 and then, in the first two years of ministry, he served as the special secretary to the Archbishop.
In the years 1997-2007 he studied at Rome, at the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant'Anselmo, obtaining a Licentiate in Liturgy and starting his doctoral studies. In that decade, he held the pastoral ministry (1998-2002) of the Philippine community in the parish of Saint Leo the Great in Rome, then (2002-2007) as resident chaplain of the Retreat house of the Missionary Sisters of “Sacro Costato” and Chaplain to the Philippine community in the Diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina.
He returned to his native country and was a professor and spiritual director at the Saint John the Evangelist School of Theology, Palo (2007-2014), Coordinator of the Lay Apostolate, Coordinator of the Liturgical Commission and member of the priests’ council.
In 2013 he was appointed the Rector of Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo. From 2014 he served as Rector of the Metropolitan Cathedral and Vicar General of the Archdiocese.
The Diocese of Naval is among the newest dioceses in the Philippines today. It was created on November 29, 1988. It comprises the entire island of Biliran and four municipalities at the northwestern tip of the island of Leyte. It is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Palo.
The Diocese of Naval covers a land area of 1,170 square kilometers, with a population of 218,708 of which 92 per cent are Catholics. It consists of 3 vicariates, 13 parishes manned by 24 priests and 1 deacon.
The diocese also has 9 religious sisters working in the area. Among its 3 Catholic institutions is the Cathedral School of La Naval and a diocesan high school.