Most Rev. Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, DD was ordained to the episcopate by Caceres Archbishop Most Rolando Octavus J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD on March 19, 2019 at the Naga City Metropolitan Cathedral, with Most Rev. Adolfo Tito C. Yllana, D.D., Apostolic Nuncio to Australia and Most Rev. Manolo de los Santos, D.D., Bishop of Virac, as principal co-ordaining prelates. Papal Nuncio Most Rev. Gabriele Giordano Caccia S.T.D., J.C.L. represented the Holy See. The ordination coincided with the feast of St Joseph, husband of Mary and Patron of the Universal Church.
“The episcopate is not a seat of honor,” says Bp. Yllana in his homily, as he underscores the role of a bishop whose primary duty is to pray for the faithful. Fidelity, prudence and goodness are the virtues that a bishop must always uphold, he adds. Bp. Alarcon later revealed that Bp. Yllana was celebrating his priestly ordination on the same day.
In his message, Papal Nuncio Caccia compliments the Archdiocese of Caceres for being a “fertile ground of God’s grace” as evidenced by the number of vocations from the Archdiocese. He also noted that Pope Francis inaugurated his pontificate on March 19, 2013.
The ordination was attended by archbishops and bishops from all over the Philippines, namely Abp. Jose Advincula, DD, Archbishop of Capiz; Abp. Gilbert Garcera, DD, Archbishop of Lipa; Bp. Louie Galbines, DD, Diocese of Kabankalan, Bacolod City; Bp. Victor Ocampo, DD, Diocese of Gumaca, Quezon; Bp. Mel Rey Uy, DD, Diocese of Lucena; Bp. Enrique Macaraeg, DD
Diocese of Tarlac; Bp. Nolly Buco, DD; Auxiliary Bishop of Antipolo; Bp. Joel Baylon, DD, Diocese of Legazpi; Bp. Jose Rojas Jr., DD, Diocese of Libmanan; Bp. Arturo Bastes, DD, Diocese of Sorsogon; Bp. Lucilo Quiambao, DD, Bishop Emeritus, Diocese of Legazpi; Bp. Jose Sorra, DD, Bishop Emeritus, Diocese of Legazpi;
Bp. Alarcon is popularly known as Director of the Naga Parochial School since 2007. His foray in the academe enabled him to lead the Bicol Association of Catholic Schools (BACS) and the Catholic Educational Association of Caceres and Libmanan (CEACAL), in various positions. He was also the Chair of the Advocacy Commission of the Catholic Education Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and in the Asian Associaton of School Human Resoure Management and Development Practitioners, Inc, he was the President of the Bikol Chapter from 2009 to 2011 and President of the National Office from 2012 to 2013.
Born to Juanita C. Clement and the late Armando A. Alarcon on August 6, 1970 in Daet, Camarines Norte, he finished his grade school at the Naga Parochial School, his high school and degree in Philosophy at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary. Ordained to the priesthood on November 9, 1996, he earned his licentiate and masters in Theology from the University of Sto. Tomas; his licentiate in Church History, from the Gregorian University in Rome. Prior to his appointment as school director, he was the private secretary of erstwhile Caceres Archbishop, the late Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., D.D. from 1997 to 1999 and 2003 to 2007.
Archbishop Tria Tirona appointed him Superintendent of Catholic Schools of Caceres since 2015. He was the Director of the Commission on Evangelization from 2009 to 2015 and the Stewardship Program of the Archdiocese of Caceres from 2002 until 2017. A member of the Archdiocesan College of Consultors, the Presbyteral Council and the Caceres Mission Council, Bp Alarcon teaches Church History at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary since 2001.
According to BP. Alarcon, his episcopal motto “Servus Tuus Tuum” expresses his desire to be of service to God and His Church. In his word of thanks, he admits that he had reservations about the pomp and circumstance in connection with his ordination, as he prefers to proceed to Daet to begin his ministry. However, he says he has realized that the grace of his ordination is not for him alone, but rather for the entire Church. He thanks the bishops present, his brother priests, his birth family and relatives, his “families” at NPS and Naga Cathedral, and the faithful. “My service (shall) be the expression of my gratitude,” he says.
Vice President Leonor Robredo, Former Ambassador to the Vatican, Henrietta de Villa, Congressman Gabriel Bordado of the 3rd District of Camarines Sur were among the civil government officials in attendance. In full force was the local officialdom of Naga City headed by Mayor John Bongat. The provincial government was also represented.
The preparation for the ordination, which began on January 2, 2019 after Vatican announced Bp. Alarcon’s election to the episcopate, was headed by Caceres Vicar General Msgr. Rodel Cajot and Msgr. Noe Badiola, Parish Priest of St. John the Evangelist Parish, under the direction of Abp. Tria Tirona. In close coordination for security and peace and order was the local government of Naga City.
On March 20, Bp. Alarcon is installed as the 4th Bishop of the Diocese of Daet in a Canonical Possession and Mass at the Holy Trinity Cathedral at Daet, Camarines Norte. Preceded by a liturgical reception at St. Phillip the Apostle Parish, Basud, Camarines Norte and a Civic Reception, the installation is a joint undertaking of the Archdiocese of Caceres and the Diocese of Daet.
Bp. Alarcon succeeds Archbishop Garcera who was installed as Archbishop of Lipa on April 21, 2017. Fr. Ronald Timoner has been the Diocesan Administrator of Daet since then.
In a circular dated January 2, Fr. Timoner asked the clergy and the lay faithful of Daet “to offer prayers for the success of His Excellency’s pastoral ministry here in our beloved Diocese of Daet.” In the same circular, he also said Bp. Alarcon is a “wonderful gift” to the diocese.