After a four-year vacancy in the Diocese of Alaminos Pangasinan, Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, appointed Fr. Napoleon Sipalay Jr., O.P. as the new bishop.
During the Pope’s delivery of his Angelus speech in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday night (Manila time), Jan. 28, the outgoing vice-rector of the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary became the third Dominican priest elevated in the episcopate after almost three decades.
Before him, late bishop Jose Salazar, served Batanes prelate in April 1996, then took Auxiliary Bishop of Lipa, Batangas, until he died in 2004, and was the second Dominican elevated in Church hierarchy while late Archbishop Emeritus Leonardo Legazpi pioneered.
Thomasian priest Sipalay will succeed former bishop Ricardo Baccay, who was installed as Tuguegarao archbishop on Jan. 14, 2020.
Auxiliary Bishop Fidelis Layog from Lingayen-Dagupan took care of the Diocese of Alaminos during the vacancy as apostolic administrator.
Fr. Sipalay Jr. served as the prior provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, held chairperson on the University’s board of trustees, and was vice chancellor from 2016 until 2021.
Philippe Hernandez, the Director of the UST Communications Bureau, expressed appreciation towards the 53-year-old priest as a frequent presenter of the Break Time program.
“My best memories of him are simply his being fr. Jun—the priest who took time to be with our family in our lowest moments. After he ended his term [as prior provincial] and moved to UST, he was the fr. Jun of the Seminary who always supported CB [Communications Bureau] by readily accepting our invitations to be a Break Time preacher,” Hernandez said.
Bishop-elect Napoleon finished his bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology at the University in 1995 and accomplished his licentiate in 1997, wherein the year he took oath in priesthood.
Now, he is set to lead the 40-year-old diocese with over 584,000 residing in 14 municipalities in western Pangasinan.