A Filipino priest and a former vice chancellor of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) has recently made history after he was appointed as the first Asian leader of the global Dominican Order.
On Saturday, July 13, the CBCP News confirmed that Father Gerard Francisco Timoner III, addressed by many as Father Gerard, is the new master of the Order of Preachers––also known as the Dominicans. This makes him the first-ever Filipino and Asian priest to be elected as the leader of one of the world’s biggest institutions of Catholic priests.
A native of Daet in Camarines Norte, Father Gerard was born on Jan. 26, 1968. He first obtained his philosophy degree from the Philippine Dominican Center of International Studies and his theology degree from UST before he was ordained in 1995. Since then, Father Gerard has made a number of significant contributions to the Catholic community.
My Pope runs down Father Gerard’s years of commitment to his calling:
Father Gerard pursued higher education in theology, obtaining his licentiate in sacred theology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
The Bicolano priest was appointed as vice rector for religious affairs and rector of the UST Central Seminary. He held the position for five years.
Father Gerard was appointed as the head of the Dominicans in the Philippines. He also served as the assistant for the Asia and the Pacific of the then master of the Order of Preachers, Frenchman Bruno Caderè.
Pope Francis appointed Father Gerard as the 4th Filipino member of the International Theological Commission. Its former Filipino members include the great Jesuit theologian Catalino Arevalo and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
The 51-year old Filipino priest was elected as the new master of the Order of Preachers, making him the 87th successor of St. Dominic of Guzman––the Spanish priest who founded the order in 1215. His term will last for at least nine years.
Best of luck on your term, Father Gerard! Sending you good vibes all the way from the My Pope Philippines headquarters!