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  • CCCom/Julma Narvadez

A glimpse of Bp. Louie’s journey to the episcopacy

Most Rev. Luisito A. Occiano, D.D., ordained Bishop at the Basilica Minore and National Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia on June 21, will be installed as the 3rd Bishop of Virac at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception on June 26.


Bishop Louie hails from Nabua, Camarines Sur. His parents, the late Domingo Occiano and the late Ester Audal, both natives of Nabua, raised a brood of six.


 Born on June 21, 1971, he recalls his childhood with fondness, enjoying outdoor games and joining religious activities like processions during Lent.


He finished his elementary at La Consolacion Academy at Iriga City in 1984.  His classmates – 6 of them -  encouraged him to enroll at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary, in Naga City, for High School. When he entered the seminary, priesthood was not yet foremost in his mind. But his years in the seminary opened the door to the priestly ministry.


He completed High School in 1988. He earned his degrees in Philosophy and in Theology from the Holy Rosary Major Seminary also in Naga City. He said his most memorable experience in the seminary was the yearly mission apostolate, where he and his fellow seminarians were assigned in parishes during summer.


On December 8, 1995, he was ordained to the diaconate by the late Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., at the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica Minore and National Shrine in Naga City. On November 10, 1996, he was ordained a priest at the Holy Cross Parish in his hometown.

Immediately after his ordination, he served various posts in Naga City. First, as a parochial vicar at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John Evangelist. In 1999, Archbishop Legaspi appointed him as Secretary of the Office of the Archbishop. In 2003, he was appointed Parochial Vicar of the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi. From 2003 to 2005, he was the Director of the Caceres Catechetical Ministry. Then, for twelve years, beginning 2004 until 2016, he was the Vice Rector of the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore during the rectorship of Msgr. Romulo A. Vergara, JCD and later, Msgr. Rodel M. Cajot, P.C.

 

While at the Basilica, he helped organize the Basilica Auxiliaries and the Peñafrancia Young Professionals.He was responsible for the formation for voyadores and the regular procession every Saturday.

 

In 2016, he was appointed Parish Priest of St. Bartholomew the Apostle Parish in Baao, Camarines Sur. From 2021 until his consecration as Bishop, he was the Parish Priest and Rector of the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Joseph in San Jose, Camarines Sur and the School Director of the Instituto de Caceres – San Jose Campus.

 

At St. Bartholomew the Apostle Parish, he had the rectory and the Chapel of the Sacraments constructed in a way that fit the rich history of the centuries-old parish.  He strengthened the PREX Formation and initiated a feeding program for malnourished children. When the COVID19 pandemic struck and communities were locked down, he immediately responded by providing aid to those who needed it most.

 

At St. Joseph Parish, he organized Barangay and Sitio Pastoral Councils and made sure to hold more Masses and sacraments in the barangays.  He revitalized the promotion of the devotion to St. Joseph, designating the 19th of every month as a day in honor of the saint, celebrating Masses and holding processions to propagate the devotion.

 

At the Instituto de Caceres - San Jose Campus, he improved the school’s financial system and its involvement in parish activities. The Senior High School Department was established during his term as director.

 

In his 27 years as a priest, 20 of those, he dedicated to the Caceres Commission on Communications.Since 2004, he ensured CCCom’s presence in radio, broadcast, print and in recent years, in digital media.

 

Under his leadership, CCCom’s evangelization ministry was carried out through various media platforms. Annually, CCCom is engaged in the coverage of the Peñafrancia Fiesta and the promotion of the World Communications Sunday. In the time of Covid19, the livestreaming of Masses was no longer new for CCCom. The Archdiocese already streamed special Masses even before the lockdown.

 

The Caceres website, social media page and the mobile app on the Peñafrancia Devotion are all maintained by CCCom, through Bp. Louie’s guidance and direction.

 

With Bp. Louie at the helm, CCCom organized the Political Fora in connection with local elections; St. Peter Baptist Mass Media Awards; Peñafrancia Short Film Festival; Media Literacy for Parishes and seminar workshops on journalism, video production, scriptwriting and other media-related skills.

 

The close collaboration between Caceres and the local media is said to be his one of his most notable accomplishments over the past two decades.  His ability to adjust to different situations and personalities, and his unassuming and diplomatic character had been a perfect blend for his ministry as CCCom director.

 

Caceres Inbox is a testament to his dedication. The late Nilo Aureus, erstwhile publisher of Bicol Mail and CCCom member, offered a regular space in this weekly periodical during the three- year preparation for the Tercentenary of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. Since then, Caceres Inbox has published Church news for 16 years and has global reach through Bicol Mail’s website.

 

Bp. Louie’s episcopal motto Cum Gaudio Predicare (To proclaim with Joy) announces an episcopacy dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel, filled with joy and in friendship with Christ. Inspired by the letter of the apostle John (1 John 1: 3 – 4), “Cum Gaudio Predicare” urges the faithful to witness to the Gospel and to remain in God’s love.

 

His motto expresses his disposition as a shepherd. His ministry is marked by friendship with fellow priests and with parishioners from all walks of life. In the Archdiocese, he has been a calm and pleasant presence, diligently fulfilling his vow to love Christ and His Church.  As he begins his new mission, he brings with him the gratitude and prayerful wishes of the faithful of Caceres. Certainly, he is welcomed with joy and hope, in the Diocese of Virac.

 


By Julma M. Narvadez

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