New Virac Bishop appointed by Pope Francis from Camarines Sur

Pope Francis appoints Rev. Luisito Occiano as new Bishop of the Diocese of Virac

Luisito Occiano, a parish priest from San Jose town in Camarines Sur, has been appointed as the third bishop of the Diocese of Virac by Pope Francis. The announcement was made public by the Archdiocese of Caceres at the Vatican City on Thursday, Feb. 29.

Occiano will be replacing Bishop Manolo de los Santos, who is 76 years old and set to retire soon. According to Catholic canon law, the retirement age for a diocesan bishop is 75. De los Santos has been serving as the bishop of the Diocese of Virac since August 1994.

As the rector and parish priest of the Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of St. Joseph, Occiano also holds the position of director of the Caceres Commission on Communications. He was ordained as a priest on Nov. 10, 1996, at the age of 25.

The Diocese of Virac, which has jurisdiction over the Catholic churches in the island province of Catanduanes, has a considerable number of parishioners, totaling over 260,000. Before its establishment in May 1974, the diocese was part of the Diocese of Legazpi under the leadership of then-Bishop Jose Crisologo Sorra.

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