Amid an impressive list of appointments (eleven in total) made yesterday is the name of Msgr. Sergio Lasam Utleg. The 67-year-old Philippine prelate was appointed to the archiepiscopal see of Tuguegarao. Archbishop-elect Utleg has a distinct Dutch connection, and that is reason enough for this blog to congratulate him.
In 1999, Msgr. Utleg was one of the consecrators, next to Cardinal Simonis and Bishop Wiertz, of Bishop Wim Eijk. The dioceses of the two respective bishop, Ilagan and Groningen-Leeuwarden, developed friendly relations and several exchanges. In 2006 Bishop Utleg was present at the annual St. Boniface Day in Dokkum and later that year, a group of young faithful from Groningen-Leeuwarden visited Ilagan.
Bishop Utleg became bishop in Laoag in 2006, and Bishop Eijk went on to become the archbishop of Utrecht in 2007. The five-year term in Laoag was ended yesterday, when Msgr. Utleg was appointed to archbishop of the northernmost archdiocese of the Philippines.