MANILA, Sept. 14, 2013— Pope Francis has appointed current Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza as the new bishop of the Diocese of San Carlos in Negros Occidental. The appointment, announced in Rome at 12:00 noon on Saturday (6:00pm, Manila time), is Francis’ second appointment to the Philippine Catholic hierarchy since he became pope last March. The San Carlos diocese has been in a period of “sede vacante” since January 2012 when Most Rev. Jose Advincula was installed archbishop of Capiz. With his appointment, Alminaza will become the third bishop of San Carlos after it was erected diocese in March 1987. Alminaza, 54, was born in San Jose, Sipalay, Negros Occidental on August 14, 1959. At 27, he was ordained priest for Bacolod diocese in April 1986 and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro, Iloilo in June 2008. The bishop-elect took his Philosophy at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Bacolod and completed his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Alminaza also had post graduate studies at Fordham University in New York and obtained his Doctorate in Educational Management at the University of Negros Occidental in Bacolod City. The bishop is the head convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group. The Diocese of San Carlos is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Jaro and serves around a million Catholics. No date yet has been set for the installation of the new bishop of San Carlos.