By Edwin O. Fernandez
Originally published on

COTABATO CITY  – Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Romeo Saniel of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) as Apostolic Administrator of the Vicariate of Jolo, replacing Bishop Angelito Lampon, OMI who was earlier appointed to become archbishop of the archdiocese of Cotabato.

Fr. Saniel will be installed as administrator of Jolo vicariate on January 30.

“I humbly accepted this appointment,” Fr. Saniel said in a phone interview. “I thank the Holy Father through Monsignor Caccia, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, for the trust given to me to continue the good work that the Oblates have started here in the vicariate,” Fr. Saniel said.

Fr. Saniel will lead the vicariate as officer in charge until a new bishop shall be named by Pope Francis. As administrator, Fr. Saniel said he will push for the OMI missions of building bridges among Jolo vicariate’s diverse cultures and faith.

“The OMIs built Notre Dame schools that helped bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians because not only did the schools stress respect for the Muslim religion and culture, they had also provided affordable education to Muslim Filipinos, settlers and indigenous people,” he said.

“I will continue promoting social development through housing, livelihood, cooperatives, and health care projects which to this date contribute to peaceful coexistence between Muslim and Christian communities,” Fr. Saniel further said.