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Bishop-Elect Luisito Audal Occiano

by Joel V. Ocampo

At 7:00 in the evening today, February 29, 2024, the Vatican announced the appointment of Rev. Fr. Luisito Audal Occiano, a clergy of the Archdiocese of Caceres as the new Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Virac, Province of Catanduanes, and a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Caceres.

The announcement was made, following the acceptance of the Holy Father Pope Francis of the resignation from the pastoral governance of the current bishop of the Diocese of Virac, His Excellency Most Rev. Manolo A. De Los Santos, D.D., who is now 76 of age, and served the said diocese since 1994.

Bishop-elect Louie Occiano was born on June 21, 1971 on the Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. He studied secondary education at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary, Naga City; Philosophy and Theology at the Holy Rosary Major Seminary in Naga City.

He received his Ordination to the Sacred Order of Presbyters on November 10, 1996, a day after the ordination to priesthood of Most Rev. Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, the New Archbishop of Caceres.

After his ordination, Bishop-elect Occiano continued his studies in Religious Formation and Catechesis at the Ateneo de Manila University, obtaining a Master of Arts from the Ateneo de Naga University in Naga City.

According to the document released by the Vatican, Bishop-elect Occiano served in the following ministries:

  • Parochial Vicar, St. John the Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral, Naga City (1996);

  • Deputy Secretary, Jubilee Executive Committee (1999);

  • Secretary to the Archbishop; 

  • Member, Commission on Social Communications (2002);

  • Director, Catechetical Ministry

  • Parish Vicar, St. Francis of Assisi, Naga City (2003);

  • Vice-Rector, Minor Basilica Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Naga City,

  • Director, Caceres Commission on Communications;

  • President, Tricentennial Celebration and Media Committee (2008);

  • Member, Catechetical Ministry Council (2011);

  • Parish Priest, St. Bartholomew Apostle, Baao, Camarines Sur (2015-2021);

  • Rector and Parish Priest, Archdiocesan Sanctuary of Saint Joseph (2021-present)

  • Professor, Holy Rosary Seminary (Naga City).

In one of his homilies during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop-elect Occiano said,

“They say ‘Save the best for last’. Allow me to change that into ‘Save the worst to Christ.’ Because sometimes, we think that we can handle everything. We think that we are extraordinary already because of our talents, intelligence, and wisdom. We think we can handle every storm of life; but there are things that we have to consider and accept that we cannot do everything with our own hands, and save the worst to Christ. Because it is only Christ who can overcome everything. Even things that we cannot handle, that we cannot overcome.”

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