Sunday, February 3, 2013

*322. His Seminary Yearbook: BISHOP TEODORO C. BACANI, JR.

IT IS RIGHT TO GIVE HIM THANKS AND PRAISE. The future bishop of Manila, as a fresh graduate of Philosophy of San Jose Seminary, 1961, Teodoro C. Bacani Jr. of Guagua.

The first time I came face to face with Bishop Teodoro “Ted” Bacani, Jr. was when he officiated the memorial mass of my uncle, Msgr. Manuel Valdez del Rosario, who passed away in 1987. A longtime priest of San Roque Parish in Blumentritt, Padre Maning had been a bosom friend of many known personalities and celebrities, including Bishop Ted, a fellow Kapampangan, who was originally from Guagua. Bishop Ted provided a light moment amidst the somber atmosphere by recounting how, upon alighting from his car, a crowd had looked and pointed at him, screaming: “Yoyoy Villame is here!”. The people inside the church chuckled at his anecdote, knowing well that Bishop Ted was popular in his won right, a powerful voice who never feared of speaking up in the days of People Power.

Born on 16 January 1940 in Manila, he went to various schools in Manila; at age 6, enrolled at the Instituto de Mujeres (Roseville College). Upon graduation, he went to Letran and earned his High School diploma in 1956. he entered San Jose Seminary in 1956, and began his priestly training, earning a Philosophy degree in 1961. He remained in San Jose to pursue his masteral degree in Philosophy for two years. On 21 December 1965, Ted officially became a priest with his sacerdotal ordination at the Manila Cathedral.

His first assignment was as an assistant parish priest at San Antonio, Zambales, a post which he held for two years. His superiors took note of his promise, and the next year, he was sent off to Rome to study Dogmatic Theology at the Angelicum University, finishing his doctorate in 1971. Upon his return, he resumed his ministerial duties in San Narciso, Zambales till 1976, when he became the Parish Priest and School Director of St. James, in Subic, from 1976-79.

After that stint, Fr. Ted became a professor of Theology at the San Carlos Seminary, assuming the deanship from 1982-83, on top of being a Theology consultant of the Archdiocese of Manila. On 6 March 1984, he was appointed Titular Bishop of Gauriana at age 44, and his ordination as Bishop took place on 12 April 1984. His consecrators included Archbishop Bruno Torpigliani, Bishop Amado Paulino and Archbishop Paciano Basilio Aniceto.

 As Bishop of the Ecclesiastical District of Manila, he was involved in many major activities—from chairing the Archdiocesan Commission on Marriage and Family Life Ministries (1984) and the National Pastoral Planning Committee (1985) to serving as a parish priest of San Fernando Dilao of Paco and acting as the Spiritual Director of the Mother Butler Guild. In the heady days of the People Power Revolution, Bishop Ted was the Chairman of the CBCP Committee on Public Affairs in 1986.

On 7 December 2002, he was appointed Bishop of Novaliches. On April 2003, his personal secretary filed a sexual harassment case against him which forced him to resign his post, later that year in November. While remaining a bishop in good standing with all rights and powers as bishop, he was not given charge of any particular diocese.

Unfazed by these turn of events,the now-retired bishop emeritus remains an authoritative force in the church, speaking his mind about current issues--from the RH bill, divorce law to boring sermons and over-emphasis on Santa Claus. Recently, Bishop Ted challenged politicians to pass a law against political dynasties to prove their sincerity in serving the country in the 2013 elections.

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