New Malaybalay bishop Noel Pedregosa reiterated his goal to protect the environment and put into action Pope Francis’s message in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato si. “I pray that God will bless me to be a good shepherd, a shepherding of listening, dialogue, love, gentle correction and appreciation, a shepherding of humility and openness, a shepherding of intimate friendships and holiness,” the bishop said during his homily.
Bishop Pedregosa officially assumed his new position as the new bishop of Malaybalay, Bukidnon on September 14. He succeeds Archbishop Jose Cabantan, who was appointed Archbishop of Cagayan De Oro in 2020 by Pope Francis himself. The 56-year-old bishop was installed as the diocese’s fifth bishop during a 9AM Mass at the San Isidro Labrador Cathedral. The installation was livestreamed on the diocese’s and cathedral’s official Facebook pages. (Read: Pope Francis Appoints New Bishops for Taytay, Malaybalay)
Significance of his coat of arms
The newly-installed bishop also explained the meaning of his coat of arms as bishop of Malaybalay. “My mission extends to the environment, as seen in my coat of arms as bishop of Malaybalay. One can see a tree rooted in greenery at the bottom of my coat of arms,” he explained, “It represents the strong ecological thrust of the entire church, particularly in the context of Bukidnon, whose pastoral care was entrusted to me as bishop.”
As we all know, Bukidnon is known as the “Food Basket” of its region because of the plethora of crops it produces like corn, rice, pineapple, and sugarcane. That’s why, according to Bishop Pedregosa, he wants to make the environment the center of his mission as bishop of the diocese.
“The agricultural motif likewise links my farming background and the role of San Isidro Labrador, the Diocesan patron saint in his life. I want to put the environment as one of the central issues of my advocacy as bishop,” he further stated. (Read: Laudato Si A ‘Social’ Encyclical, Too –Pope Francis)
‘A grace and mystery’
And even though the appointment to the post came as a surprise to the bishop, he says he will do what he can to become someone worthy of being put into such position. “This gift of episcopacy was a grace and a mystery. It cannot be fathomed by human understanding because of my unworthiness, weakness, and sinfulness,” Bishop Pedregosa said.
“Please continue to pray for us, your priests, bishops, for our Holy Father Pope Francis and especially for me, that the Holy Triune God may grant me the grace of care and nurture.”