The officials of the Catholic Church consider Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo’s elevation as a blessing for Mindanao and the Philippines after he was named by Pope Francis to be the first Filipino cardinal under his leadership.
The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that Quevedo will be able to help the pontiff in reaching the marginalized sector in Mindanao.
“A cardinal from Mindanao is a papal tribute to the strength of the Catholic faith in that region of our country. It is a proof that the Catholic faith in Mindanao is now bearing rich fruits; Cardinal Quevedo is its living testimony,” Villegas said in his message.
He added that the CBCP was elated after receiving reports that the Pope has named Quevedo as one of the members of the College of Cardinals.
On Sunday, Pope Francis has announced his first batch of Cardinals, which included Quevedo and 18 more from other countries.
Villegas said Quevedo is a senior member of the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines, whose mental clarity and intellectual brilliance has made him popular in the CBCP.
From 1999 to 2003, the Cardinal-Elect served as the CBCP President.
“He is an archbishop who is truly passionate for the formation of basic ecclesial communities. He has been a pastor up North in Ilocos, Sur and down South in Cotabato,” he added.
Further, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said that Archbishop Quevedo is a known advocate for inter-religious dialogue and the peace process in Mindanao.
Thus, Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad believes that Quevedo’s elevation will help strengthen the peace talks between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine government.
“His voice can really guide the framers of the agreement, which would be acceptable to Muslims, Lumads and Christians,” Jumoad said.
Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles considers Quevedo to be “a great blessing for Mindanao and the Philippines.”
“Quevedo is a great Church leader of International fame,” Arguelles said.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle thanked Pope Francis after he hailed Quevedo as Mindanao’s first Cardinal.
Tagle said the Pope has blessed not only the entire Philippines and Asia but the whole Church.
“The Church in the Philippines and Asia has been greatly blessed these past decades by the service and leadership of Archbishop Quevedo. Now this blessing extends to the whole Church,” Tagle said.
He said the Philippine church would pray for Archbishop Quevedo. The Philippines now has seven cardinals, which started in 1960 when the late Pope John XXIII elevated the first Filipino Cardinal Manila Archbishop Rufino Santos.
Among these cardinals are Manila Archbishop Jaime Sin, Gaudencio Rosales, Luis Antonio Tagle and Cebu Archbishops Julio Rosales and Ricardo Vidal.
Quevedo further serves as the first Cardinal in Mindanao and the fourth living Filipino cardinal beginning February, along with Vidal, 82; Gaudencio Rosales, 81; and Tagle, 56.
Quevedo, 74 was ordained as priest on June 5, 1964 and as bishop on October 28, 1980. He is eligible to elect the next pope, which is the cardinal’s most important task.