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Bishop-elect Rafael Cruz - The New Bishop of Baguio

Updated: Jul 2

by Joel V. Ocampo

The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Fr. Rafael Tambao-an Cruz, a priest of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan as the new Bishop of Baguio. The appointment was made public at 6:00 PM on June 20, 2024.

Rev. Fr. Rafael T. Cruz was born on March 12, 1960, in the Municipality of Mapandan, Province of Pangasinan. He was born on a Saturday, a day of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and was named after the Archangel Raphael, the angel of healing and patron of travelers, our guide to our synodal journey to heaven.

He studied Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at San Pablo Regional College Seminary, Baguio City, (1977-1981). Followed by Bachelor of Sacred Theology at the Immaculate Conception School of Theology, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur (1981-1985). He also earned a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling Psychology (1988-1990) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Clinical Psychology, at the Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City (2002). In addition, he completed the residency training program at Loyola University in Chicago and the Carl Jung Institute in Evanston, Illinois.

He received his Ordination to the Sacred Order of Presbyters on September 8, 1985, during the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Pastoral Assignments:

As a priest, Rev. Fr. Rafael T. Cruz served in the following ministries:

  • Deputy Parish Priest of Saints Peter and Paul, Calasiao, Pangasinan (1985-1987);

  • Guest Priest in the Archdiocese of Manila (1988):

  • RVM Sisters Regional House, Singalong, Sto. Cristo, Las Piñas, Divine Mercy Shrine, Mandaluyong;

  • Chaplain of Our Lady of Remedies Chapel, Quezon City;

  • Visiting Professor at Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University (1999-2004);

  • Spiritual director and psychologist consultant of the seminarians of the Territorial Prelature of Batanes;

  • Lecturer at the Center for Family Ministries, Ateneo de Manila (2004);

  • Guest Priest at St. Anthony Abbot, Villasis, Pangasinan, Diocese of Urdaneta (2009);

  • Guest Priest of Saints Peter and Paul and the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Dagupan City (2010);

  • Spiritual Director, Teacher, and Professor in Pastoral Psychology at the Mary Help of Christians High School Seminary and the Mary Help of Christians College Seminary (2011-2018);

  • Parish Priest and Vicar Forane of St. Thomas Aquinas, Mangaldan, Pangasinan (2018-2022);

  • Parish Priest and Vicar Forane of St. Ildephonse of Seville (2022-present).

In addition to these, he also serves in the following positions:

  • Member, Presbyteral Council;

  • Member, Permanent Committee for the Protection of Minors;

  • Vicar Forane;

  • Invited Lecturer, Mary Help of Christians Theology Seminary in San Fabian, Pangasinan; Immaculate Conception School of Theology in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur; and Recoletos Theology Seminary in Mira Nila, Quezon City.

An Understanding Heart

During his installation as the new Moderator Team Ministry of Parish of St. Ildephonse of Seville in Malasiqui, Pangasinan, on February 19, 2022, Fr. Cruz shared that whenever he receives a new pastoral assignment or appointment, he reads 1 Kings chapter 3, the story where King Solomon asked the Lord for wisdom, and makes the prayer of King Solomon as his prayer. The prayer goes, “Lord, please give an understanding heart and a wisdom to discern between good and evil, and to do what is good” (cf. 1 Kings 3:9). He also asked the faithful, “More than your applause, prayer is what I need. Please pray for me so that I could bring Christ, I could project Christ, the Good Shepherd to all of you.” He added, “I assure you also, that as you pray for me, I also pray for you always.”

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