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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Valles installed as 4th Davao archbishop


DAVAO CITY—Peace advocate Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, DD, was pulled out from his six-year stint in the Zamboanga City archdiocese to become the fourth archbishop of this metropolitan center of more than 1.2 million Catholics.


Valles took over the helm from Archbishop Fernando Capalla, known for his groundbreaking peace initiatives through interfaith dialogues among Christian and Muslim leaders, and peace dialogues and inter-religious gatherings in many conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.
Valles entertained the packed San Pedro Cathedral with his jokes as he recalled his birth origin on July 10, 1951 in Maribojoc, Bohol; his studies at the Maryknoll-run school in Lupon, Davao Oriental; and his philosophy and theological studies for the priesthood at the St. Francis Xavier Major Seminary (Remase) in Davao City. 
But as he was light and bubbly with his jokes, he was sharp and reflective in his Homily on “better shepherding of the flock by not trying to forget that I am also a sheep who needs salvation.”
Valles was ordained a priest on April 6, 1976, and had his stints in the Davao region shuttling from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Mati City in Davao Oriental. He was parish priest of the Christ the King Cathedral of Tagum in 1976, moving to the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish of Mati in 1982, and back to the cathedral in Tagum both as parish priest and vicar general in 1982.
He taught the scriptures at the Queen of Apostoles College Seminary in Tagum in 1983 and fundamental liturgy of Sacramental Theology at the Remase, where he also became a rector.
He said he was “happy to be back home to familiar faces where I shared a historical bond.”
“I tell you that I am one of yours, that you have no choice but to allow me to come home,” he said.
Valles was appointed fourth bishop of Kidapawan on June 24, 1997, by Pope John Paul II and was transferred to Zamboanga City on November 13, 2006 as the fifth archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI.
Valles served as a chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’s (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Liturgy and a member of the Permanent Committee on Cultural Heritage of the Church.
In his farewell speech, Capalla spoke fondly of Valles “as a man you will become fond of” as much as he did when he spends his retirement days in Zamboanga City “to spend it in a place where my continuing apostolic work would surely be days of fondness, too.” 
He said he planned to retire in 2009, but Pope Benedict XVI extended his stint.
Capalla said he was “77 years and six months old” and had served the archdiocese of Davao City for 15 years. The Davao archdiocese has 32 parishes.

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