by Joel V. Ocampo
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, currently serving as the vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippine (CBCP), was elected as the new president of CBCP. The announcement was made by the CBCP News on July 8, 2021, around 11:00 in the morning, Manila time.
Bishop Ambo, as he was fondly called, was born on March 3, 1959. He grew up in the town of Betis in Guagua, Pampanga. As a seminarian, he was formed in the Mother of Good Counsel Minor Seminary in Pampanga, and at the San Jose Seminary, Ateneo de Manila University. He was ordained a priest March 12, 1983 in the Archdiocese of San Fernando. From 1986 to 1991 he studied for Licentiate and later a Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. On May 27, 2006 he was appointed Titular Bishop of Guardialfiera and Auxiliary of San Fernando, by Pope Benedict XVI.
As a bishop, he led various CBCP commissions, including: Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) and Commission on Cultural Heritage of the Church. From 2017 to present, Bishop David served as the CBCP Vice President.
LOVE AND CARE FOR THE MARGINALIZED
Apart from his beautiful and practical homilies, Bishop David is known for initiating pastoral programs and services for the last, the least, and the lost in the Diocese of Kalookan. This includes the following:
SALUBONG – “Task Force Salubong” is a rehabilitation program for drug dependents. It is a project of the diocese for the six months rehabilitation of persons with substance abuse disorder and giving them psychological orientation that is family and community based. They are also taught about livelihood programs so that they can go back to normal life in the society.
CENTER OF MERCY – the Center of Mercy for Street Children is a project where the street children can go to the center to read, study, eat meals, take a bath and given catechesis on the Catholic Teachings of the Church.
CHILDREN SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM – an integrated academic and leadership development program designed to provide an environment for scholastic excellence reinforced with leadership and values formation to empower and give its beneficiaries not just financial assistance for education but reinforce it with Christian values.
EJK ORPHANS – this program, initiated by Bishop David aid the orphaned children and widowed wives of the EJK victims. Spiritual, social, and economic support is ensured for the families to help them in their grueling quest for justice for their loved ones.
Before he was assigned in the Diocese of Kalookan, Bishop David was also known in Pampanga for his advocacies for the environment, persons with disabilities, women and children, and other social action works. In addition, he also gives monthly spiritual formation and hosts a Sunday Gospel talk show entitled Men of Light.
When he was installed as the new bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan, Bishop David said in his homily, “Ambo ang itawag n’yo sa akin." (You call me ambo.) I am just a stand from which the Word of God is proclaimed.” (Ambo in the Christian liturgy, is a raised stand used for reading and proclaiming the Word of God.) True enough, he allowed the Word of God to be proclaimed through him. Some of the significant Gospel reflections and messages uttered by Bishop Ambo are the following:
You have not known love yet if you’re still looking for a thousand and one reasons to love. Well, love has its own reasons.
The moment a teacher thinks that s/he already knew everything, that’s when they stop being effective teachers. Good teachers must remain as students; because as a teacher, you don’t stop learning.
On the cross, Jesus is like saying, “Never ever say that you are a worthless and hopeless person. I offered my life for you. I will never give you up.”
God is already doing something. God is at work. All you need to do is to open your eyes, not your physical eyes but your spiritual eyes.
Remember we are Catholic; and Catholic is about inclusiveness, about open-mindedness about being ready to extend our arms even to those who are not of our own kind.
Kapag may pagkukulang, huwag ka nang mambutas…bagkus, kapag may kulang, magpuno.
Never hold on to anything in this world like it’s your everything; because if you lose it, you’re lost.
When people care for each other, nobody will experience hunger.
If you want to become truly wise you must learn to admit that you do not know everything.
A Church with no mission is not a Church; it is just another club.
A Church that doesn’t serve is not a Church. It might be just another profit-making institution.
Parental stewardship is not just about disciplining. It is also about understanding and accepting one’s children even when they make mistakes.
Yes, it is true. Sin, like disease is contagious…but don’t you forget that the good is more contagious. If evil is powerful, goodness and God’s mercy is more powerful.