CEBU CITY (Jan. 17, 2021) – The Rector Major of the Salesian congregation has appointed Fr. Fidel Ma. Daza Orendain, SDB, Ph.D., as the next superior of the Philippine South province.
Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB, 10th successor of St. John Bosco, chose Fr. Fidel to succeed Fr. Godofredo “Godo” Atienza, SDB to lead the area referred to in Italian as Filippine Ispetoria Sud (FIS), officially as Province of Mary Help of Christians, by midway this year.
Fr. Fidel is still in his second school year as Rector and School President of Don Bosco Technical College (DBTC) – Cebu who steered the school through the crisis brought by the coronavirus disease of 2019 (CoViD-19) pandemic.
Fr. Honesto “Nioret” G. Geronimo, SDB, his predecessor at DBTC Cebu, now FIS vice provincial, first announced in public the appointment through a post in his Facebook account at 3:16pm today.
Bro. Louie Domasian, SDB, FIS alumni delegate, also revealed the same through a separate post in the Facebook group of Don Bosco Cebu Alumni, Inc. at 4:28pm, sharing a screenshot of the email he received at 4:16pm from Fr. Atienza.
“Benedicamus domine deo gratias (Thank God for the blessing),” noted Fr. Atienza in his message about the development.
“Let us be in communion and united with (Fr. Fidel) as a confrère who will accompany us in the coming six year 2021-2027 with the blessing of St. John Bosco, the guidance of Mary Help of Christians and the light of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
By 5:05 pm, Don Bosco FIS, the official Facebook page of the local Salesian province, also congratulated Fr. Fidel as “provincial superior-elect of FIS.”
Fr. Joseph Phuoc, SDB reported from Rome in an article that the Bosco Australasia Link website published at 7:27pm tonight that the Rector Major signed the appointment yet last Jan. 7.
Fr. Fidel will be the sixth superior of the FIS that the congregation created in 1992, separating the Visayas and Mindanao with then Papua New Guinea from Luzon now referred to as Filippine Ispetoria Nord (FIN) or Philippine North province.
The late Italian missionary Fr. Pietro “Peter” G. Zago, SDB, after two separate terms as Rector of then Don Bosco Technical High School (DBTHS) Cebu Boys Town, first served as provincial superior.
After he also served DBTC Cebu as Rector, now Msgr. Patricio Abella Buzon, SDB, D.D., current Bishop of Bacolod and previously of Kabankalan, both in Negros Occidental, succeeded Fr. Zago.
Fr. Julius A. Sanchez, SDB, now parish priest of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Don Bosco, Dahican, Mati, Davao Oriental, followed; then Fr. George Militante, SDB, who is at rest from priestly work for health reasons; and Fr. Atienza.
In his new role, Fr. Fidel will shepherd 106 professed members, with 68 priests, 17 brothers, 21 candidates to priesthood and six novices under FIS that also covers a delegation in Pakistan, reported Bosco.Link.
FIS oversees schools, centers for children in difficult circumstance, social outreach programs, retreat centers, boarding houses, seminaries, prison ministry, training centers, and parishes.
Born in Manila on April 24, 1965, Fr. Fidel grew in Pampanga and made his first profession on Jan. 4, 1985 and perpetual profession on March 28, 1993. He was ordained to the priesthood by Dec. 8, 1993.
He became part of the FIS roster by 1997. He then studied Salesian Spirituality at the Institute of Salesian Studies in Berkeley, California from 2001 to 2003, and earned his Masters Degree in Communication from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
He holds a Doctorate in Communications from the University of the Philippines. He handled FIS’ social communications initiatives for more than 20 years.
Since he moved to FIS, he carried out his ministry at Don Bosco Formation Center in Lawa-an, Talisay City, then at DBTC Cebu and after at the provincial house in Talamban until his recent assignment back to DBTC Cebu where he serves in concurrent capacity as college dean and vice president for academics.
Heads of member schools under the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) in Central Visayas elected him in mid-2020 as regional chairperson, overseeing 124 Catholic schools.