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Philippines

Fisherman's son is new bishop of Mindanao

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle ordained Father Raul Bautista Dael as bishop of Tandag

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Fisherman's son is new bishop of Mindanao

Father Raul Bautista Dael (center) leads Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila (left) and Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro to the altar during the priest's ordination his ordination as new prelate of Tandag Diocese on June 7. (Photo by Froilan Gallardo)

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A son of a poor fisherman from a coastal town in the southern Philippines was ordained bishop of Tandag in Mindanao's Surigao del Sur province on June 7.

A priest for the past 25 years, Bishop Raul Bautista Dael, a native of Misamis Oriental province, was ordained by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.

He will replace 77-year-old Archbishop Nereo Odcimar, who retired earlier, as Tandag prelate.

In his message during the ordination ceremony, Cardinal Tagle reminded Bishop Dael that being a bishop "is not just an honor (and) is not a promotion, it is not a career."

"It is not climbing a ladder and getting up there before the others. No, it is all about mission, in the same way that Jesus was sent," said Manila prelate.

Cardinal Tagle told the new bishop "not to fret" and to soldier on despite the trials that will come his way as a church leader.

For his part, Bishop Dael said he was "trembling in fear" upon hearing the news of his appointment from the papal nuncio in February.

"It was as if the mystery entered through my flesh and penetrated my whole being that I could feel my innermost flesh tremble," he told reporters after the ordination.

Bishop Dael said he could not imagine himself being trusted with such a "very sublime mission."

"I felt unworthy. I know my own inadequacies. But at the same I also felt the Lord was pleased with my efforts despite my weaknesses," he said.

Bishop Dael said he will not rush things in his diocese but would take the time out to acquaint himself with the people he will be serving.

"At the moment, I would not yet go into heavy stuff. I simply would like to listen and observe," he said.

Bishop Dael chose "Duc in Altum (put out into the deep)," a verse from the Bible, as his episcopal motto to remind him of his humble beginnings.

He said his motto also highlights "the centrality of my intimate friendship with the Lord in whom my entire ministry and life depend."

Prior to joining the seminary, Bishop Dael spent most of his adolescent years at a local school in his hometown. He took up philosophy at the Jesuit-run Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City.

He began his religious and priestly formation at the San Jose de Mindanao College Seminary in 1983. For his theological studies, he enrolled at the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and graduated in 1993.

He obtained his licentiate in sacred theology at the Loyola School of Theology in Manila and took up his doctoral studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

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