MABALACAT CITY – “By God’s grace we have a new archbishop who is a true native son of Mabalacat.”
Thus, said Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales as news emanating from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) announced that His Holiness, Pope Francis, named Iba, Zambales Bishop Florentino “Dong” Galang Lavarias, 57, as Archbishop of San Fernando (Pampanga).
Morales said he has created a “welcoming committee,” for Lavarias who is set to be installed as the new archbishop early next month. According to City Administrator Rosanno S. Pacquia yesterday, the welcoming committee is headed by General Services Office chief and Internal Control officer Jhune Magbalot.
The CBCP said “Lavarias succeeds Archbishop Paciano Basilio Aniceto, now 77 years old, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.”
Born on March 14, 1957, in Barangay Sta. Ines here, Lavarias was ordained in the priesthood on September 26, 1985 at the Our Lady of Divine Grace Parish in adjacent Barangay Poblacion. His Episcopal Ordination was on August 12, 2004 at the Metropolitan Cathedral in the City of San Fernando.
Lavarias went to the Sta. Ines Elementary School from 1964 to 1965 and then to the Mabalacat Elementary School from 1965 to 1970. He went to high school at the St. Anthony College here from 1970 to 1974 in Barangay San Francisco.
He went to college at the Holy Angel University from 1974 to 1978 where he graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in Business Management. Lavarias entered the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City in 1979 where he fi nished his Philosophy in 1981. He took up Theology in the same seminary from 1981 to 1985.
Lavarias is currently chairman of the CBCP Commission on the Clergy and a member on the CBCP Commission on Youth.