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Prelates named Jose on the rise

What's in a name? Jose is increasingly popular

Monsignor Jose Bantolo is appointed bishop of Masbate by the pope Thursday Monsignor Jose Bantolo is appointed bishop of Masbate by the pope Thursday
  • Lourdes Abelardo, Manila
  • Philippines
  • June 21, 2011
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Is it as a sign of the times or just a coincidence?  The number of Catholic bishops in the Philippines with the name “Jose” is increasing, just around the time the 150th birthday of national hero Jose Rizal was being celebrated on Sunday, June 19.

The latest to join their ranks is Monsignor Jose Bantolo who was appointed bishop of Masbate last Thursday, although he has yet to be officially installed. His appointment brings the total up to 10 out of  96 active members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), according to their 2010 directory.

The other bishops with the name Jose are: Jose Advincula of San Carlos, Negros Occidental; Jose Colin Bagaforo of Cotabato; Jose Cabantan of Malaybalay, Bukidnon; Jose Romeo Lazo of Antique; Jose Manguiran of Dipolog; Jose Oliveros of Malolos, Bulacan; Jose Palma of Palo, Leyte; Jose Rojas of Libmanan, Camarines Sur; and Jose Corazon Tala-Oc of Romblon.

However, Bishops Oliveros and Bagaforo both say they were named after Saint Joseph, not Rizal.

“Saint Joseph is my patron saint, of course,” says Oliveros.

Monsignor Jose Clemente Ignacio, rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church), contends that it is also possible the parents of Jose Rizal named him after Saint Joseph, as this was a common practice at the time.

Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz is keen for parents to continue naming their children after the saints.

“It’s a good practice. For one thing it’s a symbol that the child will be a devotee of a saint after whom he or she is named,” he said. “But if they prefer to give another name to their child that’s OK too.”

He stressed that it is important is for parents to be discerning when choosing a name for their child.

“The child will bear that name until the deathbed,” he said.  “If the name is not only funny but also ridiculous, the poor child might be subjected to ridicule.”
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