In his first press conference since being appointed bishop by Pope Francis, bishop-elect Ryan Jimenez addressed questions from local media in front of diocesan, government, and department officials at the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa office yesterday.
Joining in welcoming Jimenez was Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP).
“It has been six years. It has been a long time. Fr. Ryan has shown his compassion to the people and that is definitely what we need here,” Torres told Saipan Tribune.
He notes that he will be working close with the bishop-elect once he assumes his official capacity in the diocese.
“I know there is a separation of Church and state, but we do need a lot of faith-based assistance to our programs, especially the meth issues that we are having around the island and our rehabilitation program,” Torres explained.
Torres said that the appointment is a “good step” for the CNMI. He described the news as a “blessing” for the islands.
“He [Fr. Ryan] is very compassionate and caring. He is very personal and makes you feel loved and that your presence at Church is important,” he added. “Not just in the Church but outside too. That to me is very important to have our new bishop be personal with the community.”
For his part, Sablan recognized the role the diocese plays in the islands.
“The Church plays an important role in any community. I am just so glad that Bishop Camacho is still here with us to see his successor take on the role.”
The congressman also reiterated Bishop-Emeritus Tomas Camacho’s call on the community to support Jimenez.
“Fr. Ryan has big shoes to fill,” Sablan added. “I am very happy with the appointment. It is about time.”
Jimenez is expected to be ordained by the Pope’s representative, Archbishop Martin Krebs, on Aug. 14.