Vatican News
Pope Francis. Pope Francis.  (AFP or licensors)

Pope appoints three bishops in Asia

Pope Francis on Friday appointed bishops in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Myanmar.


In the Philippines, Pope Francis on Friday transferred Bishop Ricardo L. Baccay of Alaminos to the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao as archbishop. He takes the place of Archbishop Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao, who reached the retirement age of 75 last year. 

Archbishop-designate Baccay was born in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, on 3 April 1961. He attended the secondary schools at the San Jacinto seminary and did his studies in philosophy and theology at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. He was subsequently awarded a Master of Arts at the Lyceum of Aparri and a doctorate in educational management from the University of Manila.

Following his priestly ordination on 10 April 1987, he was assigned the following responsibilities in Tuguegarao Archdiocese:

1987 - 1993: Special secretary to the archbishop 

1987 – 2007: Also director of the catechetical pastoral care for the archdiocese

1993 – 1999: Parish priest at Saint Dominic Church, Gataggamman

1999 – 2005: Parish priest at Saint Niño Shrine, San Gabriel. 

2005 : Rector of San Jacinto minor seminary 

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Tuguegarao on 23 February 2007, and was consecrated bishop 10 April 2007. Pope Francis transferred him to Alaminos as Bishop on 20 February 2016.

At the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), he was elected as president of the Office on Bioethics and was the Regional Representative for the northern zone of Luzon.



In Papua New Guinea, on Friday, Pope Francis appointed Father John Bosco Auram as the new bishop of Kimbe Diocese. The Pope appointed the 46-year old priest in the place of Capuchin Bishop William Regis Fey who reached the retirement age of 75 last year.

Father Auram was born on 19 October in the village of Kandoka, province of West New Britain (which formed part of the archdiocese of Rabaul but now belongs to Kimbe).  

He began his formation at the Saint Peter Chanel minor seminary in Ulapia, and then completed his philosophical and theological studies at the Sacred Heart major seminary in Rapolo. He was ordained a priest on 17 January 2004, for the clergy of the Diocese of Kimbe, the second priest ordained after the creation of the diocese.

As a priest he was assigned the following responsibilities:

 2004-2005: Assistant parish priest of Kimbe Cathedral 

2005-2007: Vice-rector of Saint John Vianney minor seminary, Vanimo 

2007-2008: Vice-rector of Saint Charles Borromeo major seminary, Vanimo 

2008-2009: Six months of pastoral work in the parish of Kaiai 

2009-2011: Formator and professor at Saint Peter Chanel minor seminary in Ulapia and Sacred Heart major seminary, Rapolo 

2011-2012: Parish priest of Silanga, Kimbe

2012-2013: Studied at the Institute of Priestly Formation in Omaha (U.S.A.) and the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome, and pastoral ministry in the parish of Turuk, Kimbe 

2013-2015: Formator at the Holy Spirit major seminary, Bomana

2015-2016: Pastoral ministry in the parish of Sara, Kimbe 

2016-2019: Studied for a licentiate in pastoral theology at the University of Santo Tomas of Manila and served as spiritual director in the seminary of Manila 

Since 2019: Acting Rector of the Sacred Heart seminary of Rapolo of the Archdiocese of Rabaul.



In Myanmar, Pope Francis appointed Father Lucas Dau Ze Jeimphaung as coadjutor bishop to the Diocese of Lashio.   

The 57-year old Salesian priest is currently the provincial counsellor and rector of the Salesian Philosophate of Pyin Oo Lwin.

Fr. Ze Jeimphaung was born in the village of Hpa Hping, district of Northern Shan State (Diocese of Lashio) on 18 October 1962. 

He carried out his philosophical studies at the Saint Joseph Salesian Philosophate of Anisakan, and also attended the University of Yangon, from where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in history in 1989. He pursued his theological studies at Saint Joseph’s National Seminary of Yangon. 

He took his religious vows as a Salesian on 6 May 1993 and on 21 April 1996 he was ordained a priest. From 2003 to 2006 he carried out his specialist studies in the Philippines, obtaining a diploma in family counselling in 2004 from the Jesuit University, and a master’s degree in pastoral sociology from the Asian Social Institute.

As a Salesian priest he had held the following responsibilities: 

1996-2003: Bursar of the Nazareth Aspirantate of Anisakan, Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay Archdiocese 2003-2006: Specialisation studies in the Philippines 

2006-2012: Rector and parish priest of the Nazareth Community of Anisakan 

2008-2011: Delegate for youth ministry and provincial counsellor 

2012-2017: Responsible for the Wa Mission in the Diocese of Lashio

Since 2017: Provincial counsellor 2nd triennium (since 2015); Rector of the Salesian Philosophate of Pyin Oo Lwin

18 October 2019, 15:53