THE VICE-RECTOR of the UST Central Seminary has been named the new bishop of the diocese of Alaminos in Pangasinan, becoming the third Filipino Dominican to ever receive the rank.
Fr. Napoleon Sipalay, O.P. was designated to the post by Pope Francis on Sunday, Jan. 28, during the pontiff’s weekly Angelus speech at Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
The Dominican priest will succeed Tuguegarao Archbishop Ricardo Baccay, who led the Alaminos diocese from 2016 to 2019.
The position had been vacant for four years and was previously under the care of Lingayen-Dagupan Bishop Fidelis Layog as apostolic administrator.
Before his appointment as bishop of Alaminos, Sipalay served as the prior of the Priory of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Manaog, Pangasinan in 2015. He then served as the Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province for four years before being appointed vice-rector of UST Central Seminary in 2021.
Sipalay professed in the Dominican Order in 1991. He studied philosophy at the Philippine Dominican Center of Institutional Studies the following year and earned his bachelor’s degree in sacred theology at UST in 1995. In 1997, he obtained his licentiate and was ordained a priest.
A former missionary in Sri Lanka, Sipalay taught at the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka in Kandy from 2006 to 2015. He was also secretary to the Committee for Religious Formation of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Sri Lanka from 2009 to 2015.
Aside from Sipalay, two other Filipino Dominicans received the title as bishop, namely, the late Caceres archbishop Leonardo Legazpi, O.P., also UST’s first Filipino rector who was ordained bishop in 1977, and the late Fr. Jose Salazar, O.P. who was consecrated bishop in 1996.
The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, is a religious order founded by St. Dominic de Guzman in 1216. It aims to “share with others the truth about God.” The order has produced some of the greatest Catholic saints, including St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Martin de Porres, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Rose of Lima, St. Albert the Great and St. Pius V. F