Catholic Church

Fr. Regie Malicdem, longtime aide to Manila archbishops, named vicar general

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Fr. Regie Malicdem, longtime aide to Manila archbishops, named vicar general

NEW BEGINNINGS. Father Reginald Malicdem (right) presides over a Mass during his farewell party at the Manila Cathedral in late 2022.

Patrick Dominick Romero/Manila Cathedral

Father Reginald ‘Regie’ Malicdem, the Manila archbishop’s new right-hand man, is one of the rising leaders in the Catholic Church

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula appointed Father Reginald “Regie” Malicdem, longtime private secretary to Manila archbishops, as vicar general of the Archdiocese of Manila starting February 15.

A vicar general is a Catholic bishop’s right-hand man. The Code of Canon Law, which guides the governance of the global Catholic Church, gives the vicar general “executive power over the whole diocese,” except for acts reserved to the bishop. 

In a circular dated Thursday, February 9, Advincula also named Malicdem the vice moderator curiae of the Archdiocese of Manila. In this capacity, Malicdem is set to assist the moderator curiae in handling the archdiocese’s administrative affairs. 

Advincula is retaining Monsignor Jose Clemente Ignacio, an old hand, as the Archdiocese of Manila’s other vicar general as well as moderator curiae. He has been vicar general since 2015.

Typically, a Catholic bishop appoints only one vicar general, but the Code of Canon Law states that more than one can be appointed if the size of the diocese, the number of its inhabitants, or other reasons require it.

“I am very humbled by the appointment,” Malicdem said in a message to Rappler.

He then thanked Advincula – whom he addressed by his nickname Cardinal Joe – for his trust.

“I thank God for this new opportunity to serve the Archdiocese of Manila. I look forward to helping Cardinal Joe in realizing his vision for our local Church. I beg for your prayers as I take on this new mission,” Malicdem said.

Rising leader

Malicdem, 44, is one of the rising leaders in the Philippine Catholic Church. 

Born in Mandaluyong on March 9, 1978, Malicdem started as private secretary to then-Manila archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales in 2005, after he was ordained priest also by Rosales in 2004. When Rosales retired, his successor Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle also tapped Malicdem as private secretary, from 2011 until Tagle was promoted to a Vatican post in 2020.

In recent decades, the most prominent private secretary to a Manila archbishop was Socrates Villegas, who assisted the late Jaime Cardinal Sin and later rose to become bishop and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

In 2015, at the age of 37, Malicdem also became the youngest rector, or caretaker, of the Manila Cathedral, considered “the Mother Church of the Philippines.” He served in this capacity until 2022, when Advincula moved him to the Our Lady of Hope Mission Station, a chapel inside The Landmark retail store in Manila’s central business district, as mission station priest.

Malicdem finished his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, magna cum laude, at San Carlos Seminary in 1999, according to his profile on the Manila Cathedral’s website. Five years later, he earned his master’s degree in theology at the same seminary, graduating summa cum laude. In 2017, he obtained his doctorate in liturgy from San Beda University, summa cum laude. – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com