CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – “Not a promotion but a mission.” This was the message of Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle to Fr. Raul Dael during his ordination as bishop attended by hundreds of Roman Catholic devotees and fellow priests on Thursday, June 7.
Dael, 51, is the son of a fisherman from Jasaan, a coastal town in the province Misamis Oriental in southern Philippines.
A priest for 25 years, Dael was appointed by the church leadership as the new bishop of Tandag, based in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.
In his message during the ordination ceremony at the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral here on Thursday, Tagle reminded Dael that being a bishop goes beyond the moving up of position in the church hierarchy.
“The episcopacy is not just an honor, it is not a promotion, it is not a career. It is not climbing a ladder and getting up there before the others. No, it is all about mission, in the same way that Jesus was sent,” the cardinal said.
Tagle also told Dael “don’t fret” and urged him to soldier on despite the trials that will come his way as a bishop.
For his part, Dael said he was “trembling in fear” upon hearing the news of his appointment.
It was the Papal Nuncio, the diplomatic representative of the Pope, he added, who broke him the news during a one-month spiritual renewal in February.
“It was as if the mystery entered through my flesh and penetrated my whole being that I could my innermost flesh tremble,” he told reporters during a press conference prior to his ordination.
He said he couldn’t imagine himself being trusted with such a very sublime mission.
“I felt unworthy. I know my own inadequacies. But at the same I also felt the Lord was pleased with my efforts despite my weaknesses,” Dael furthered.
As the new bishop of Tandag, Dael said he will not rush things but would take the time out to acquaint himself with the people he will be serving there.
Dael said he has chosen “Duc in Altum” (Put out into the deep, from a verse in the Bible) as his own episcopal motto not just to remind him of his humble beginnings “but to highlight my centrality of my intimate friendship with the Lord in whom my entire ministry and life depend.”
Dael will beging episcopacy at Tandag on June 14. (davaotoday.com)