A Filipino priest from the Bicol region is the new worldwide head of the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans.
Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, as the new Master of the Dominican Order, will oversee the various ministries worldwide of the Dominican friars, who number some 6,000 across more than 80 countries, and the “Dominican family” of active sisters, contemplative nuns, tertiary order of laymen and clerical fraternities numbering in the thousands.
The former vice-chancellor of the Manila-based University of Santo Tomas was elected over the weekend in Bien Hoa in Vietnam where Dominicans from more than 80 countries are holding their world conference until August 4.
He succeeds the Very Rev. Bruno Cadore, a French physician and bioethicist who has been serving as OP Master since 2010. An OP Master is elected to a nine-year term without reelection.
With his election, Father Timoner becomes the 88th successor of St. Dominic de Guzman, the Spaniard who founded the mendicant friar movement with the Italian St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century.
The 51year-old priest is from Daet, Camarines Norte. He earned his philosophy degree at the Philippine Dominican Center of Institutional Studies in Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City in 1991, and his theology degree at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in 1994. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 14, 1995.
“The essence of the Church is communion, concretized in an extraordinary way when brothers celebrate the Eucharist,” Father Timoner said after his election.
“We Dominicans must serve the Church with what we are: a communion of brothers. We must help this Church to become a strong communion. We must not look continually at ourselves, but at the Church, which we must help to serve and build.”
He said he felt greatly encouraged in fulfilling his mission when fellow Dominicans promised him their prayers as they came and congratulated him.
SEND congratulations in the comments below for Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, 1st Filipino and Asian priest of the global Dominican Order!
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