Bishop Ryan ordained as second bishop of Chalan Kanoa

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The Most Reverend Ryan P. Jimenez, the new bishop of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI), joyfully greets and blesses the faithful who were present at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Saipan, for his Episcopal Ordination and Mass. Bishop Ryan was appointed by Pope Francis on June 18, 2016 and is the second bishop of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa. Joined by numerous priests and bishops for the Ordination and Mass, here, Most Reverend Jose Palma, Archbishop of Cebu follows closely behind Bishop Ryan as they process out of the Cathedral. (Photo courtesy of The North Star, Official Newspaper of the Diocese Of Chalan Kanoa.)

Editor’s note – The North Star, the newspaper of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa graciously shares its stories and photos with the Umatuna Si Yu’os.

By Fr. Jason Granado
Special from the North Star

Not even the threat of rain and strong wind could contain the excitement and joy of the faithful who filled Mt. Carmel Cathedral to its capacity to witness the Episcopal ordination of Bishop Ryan P. Jimenez on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016.

On a Sunday in which the Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, Bishop Ryan was installed as the second bishop of Chalan Kanoa in the presence of several bishops from the Pacific and the Philippines, dozens of priests, family of Bishop Ryan and CNMI people and local officials.

For more than six years, Saipan was bereft of a pastor since Bishop Emeritus Tomas A. Camacho’s resignation was accepted by the Holy Father in 2010. For more than six years, the faithful had been praying at the beginning of every Mass for a new bishop.

“When I received the appointment, that was the first thing that I actually thought – that God heard our prayers: he has given us a shepherd,” said Bishop Ryan.

“A bishop being appointed to our diocese can very well be seen as a sign of God’s providence – God caring for his people. I see today’s ordination as not about me but this is really more about God – his goodness, his kindness, his faithfulness to his people,” expressed Bishop Ryan during his message at the end of the ordination.

Bishop Ryan has chosen as his Episcopal motto the passage from the Gospel of John: “We would like to see Jesus” (Volumus Iesum Videre) and in his first message as bishop to the people of Northern Marianas Islands, he exhorted everyone to see beyond the surface.

“We must go down-deep, if we are to truly see.  Only then will it be possible for us to see Jesus and to recognize him here in our diocese. Only then will it be possible to see the Lord in the ordinary events of our lives, both individual and ecclesial, and to recognize him in others, particularly those who are in need.”

His Excellency Savio Hon Tai-Fai, S.D.B., the Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of Agana was the principal ordaining bishop accompanied by Bishop Emeritus Tomas A. Camacho D.D. and Bishop Julito B. Cortes, D.D. of the Diocese of Dumaguete, Philippines.

“We must go down-deep, if we are to truly see.  Only then will it be possible for us to see Jesus and to recognize him here in our diocese. Only then will it be possible to see the Lord in the ordinary events of our lives, both individual and ecclesial, and to recognize him in others, particularly those who are in need.”

– Bishop Ryan

In his homily, Archbishop Savio urged the people of Chalan Kanoa to support Bishop Ryan with their prayers. “I would also like to ask you, People of God, to accompany him with your prayers in his episcopal ministry on Saipan, to which he has been called as a Successor of the Apostles, so that the Holy Spirit may always enlighten and guide him in the voyage of the Church.”

Bishop Emeritus Camacho’s wish of ordaining his successor was also realized in that historical event. “It is the dream of every bishop to be able to ordain his successor,” said Bishop Emeritus Camacho. “Now my dream is fulfilled.”

He imposed his hands on Fr. Ryan when he ordained him as priest for the diocese on June 8, 2003 and now he imposed his hands once more, ordaining him as bishop and his successor. Bishop Tomas was the first bishop of Chalan Kanoa for 26 years until his resignation on 2010.

The diocese welcomed numerous off-island guests who travelled to witness the ordination. Besides the family of Bishop Ryan, His Excellency Julito B. Cortes, bishop of Dumaguete, Philippines also came along with several priests from Bishop Ryan’s home diocese. Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu attended the ordination as a representative of the Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Towards the end of the celebration, he read the congratulatory letter of Archbishop Socrates Villegas who is the current president of CBCP.

Many of Bishop Ryan’s classmates in his seminary years also attended. They included Fr. Gerald Coleman, the former rector of St. Patrick Seminary at Menlo Park, California where Bishop Ryan studied.

“It is a great privilege having one of my students being made bishop, remarked Fr. Coleman. “Father Jimenez was a very fine man in the seminary and I am not surprised he was named bishop.”