Pope Francis names first Dominican Bishop in decades

Pope Francis appointed Dominican Fr. Napoleon Sipalay as Bishop of the diocese of Alaminos, Pangasinan on Sunday after four years of vacancy.

According to CBCP News, the appointment makes him the third Filipino Dominican, after the late Archbishop Emeritus Leonardo Legazpi of Caceres, and the late Auxiliary Bishop Jose Salazar of Lipa, to be elevated to the episcopate. Sipalay will succeed then-bishop Ricardo Baccay.

The diocese has been under the care of Auxiliary Bishop Fidelis Layog of Lingayen-Dagupan as apostolic administrator during the vacancy.

Having served as the Vice Rector of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Central Seminary since 2021, Sipalay also previously held the position of prior provincial of the Dominicans in the country.

His first profession in the Dominican Order was in 1991. Sipalay studied philosophy at the Philippine Dominican Center of Institutional Studies in 1992 and earned his bachelor’s degree at the university in 1995 before completing his licentiate in 1997. He was ordained to the priesthood in the same year.

The bishop-elect served as Assistant Master of Students and Novice Master before his missionary assignment in Sri Lanka. From 2006 to 2015, he held various positions, including a teaching role at the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka in Kandy.

He also served as the secretary to the Committee for Religious Formation of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Sri Lanka from 2009 to 2015.

Bishop Sipalay held the position of prior provincial for four years after being elected in 2016. Before this, he also served as the prior of the Priory of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Manaoag, Pangasinan. (By Louise Nazir A. Banzuela/SOCOM-San Frelipe Neri Parish | Photo from CBCP News)


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