MOST REVEREND BISHOP RYAN P. JIMENEZ, D.D.

Bishop Ryan P. Jimenez was born in Dumaguete City in the Philippines on December 18, 1971. He, along with his three siblings, Roy, Ray, and Rochelle, were nurtured by their mother, Lila P. Jimenez, 74, and father, Rogelio B. Jimenez, who passed away at the age of 64 of massive heart attack.

As a teenager, Bishop Jimenez joined his older brother, Roy, in enrolling at a high school seminary in Sibulan, Negros Oriental the Philippines.  It was at Saint Joseph Seminary that his love for the priesthood flourished. Upon telling his parents of his interest, they expressed elation and thanked God for the opportunity for him to continue serving. To this day, Jimenez attributes discovering his vocation to his older brother and the many people he crossed paths with in his journey.

In 1995, Bishop Jimenez traveled to the U.S. island  territory of Rota in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to serve as a teacher at a small Catholic school, Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja, the he taught for two years. Jimenez’s determination to become a priest solidified during his time there as he continued his studies to the priesthood so that he can serve the people of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa.

Bishop Jimenez enrolled at the San Jose Seminary in Quezon City and studies philosophy at  the Ateneo de Manila University. He went on to complete his studies in the United States at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California, where he successfully attained his masters in 2003.

Bishop Jimenez achieved his childhood dream of becoming when priest as he was ordained by Bishop emeritus Tomas A. Camacho in the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa on June 08, 2003. In December of  2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as the Apostolic Administrator for the diocese. Bishop Jimenez has served in various capacities in his religious life in the islands, ranging from Secretary of the Bishop to the Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

Bishop Jimenez continues to play an active role in the Church and maintain active life style. He played tennis while studying in California and garnered several medals in CNMI tournaments when he moved to the islands.

After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2005, he has fervently advocated for healthy lifestyles and emphasized its relation to spiritual health as well. Jimenez, whose health condition has substantially improved,  reached a milestone after completing his first triathlon on March 6, 2016, after competing in other sports events such as Guam’s Koko marathon and Hell of the Marianas. His first act as bishop-elect was a call on parishioners to live healthier lives.

Bishop Jimenez enjoys spending time with those he considers family and friends  at gatherings, novenas, and fiestas. As a priest, he expresses deep respect for deceased loved ones and values the centrality of faith in people’s lives.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Chalan Kanoa
P.O. Box 500745, Saipan, MP 96950

Telephone: 1670 234 3000
Fax: 1670 235 3002
Email: bishop@rcdck.org
www.rcdck.org

THE PERSONAL COAT OF ARMS OF THE MOST REV. RYAN P. JIMENEZ, D.D.

On top, on a red field symbolizing sacrifice, the monogram-seal of the Society Jesus, in gold, representing the role of the Jesuit Order in the years of formation and ministry of the bishop. The Ignatian values of “finding God in all things” and doing everything “for the greater glory of God” have always been the bishop’s spiritual guide in his ministry in Saipan.

On the middle quadrant, on a blue field representing the Pacific skies, the figure of an outrigger canoe, proper, between two representations of islands in green, to symbolize the origin and ministry of the bishop: from the island of Siquijor in the Philippines, to the islands of Northern Marianas, surmounting wavy lines in blue to depict the Pacific Ocean. The boat with unfurled sail is also a figure of the Church that is guided by the Holy Spirit.

On base, on a green field symbolizing abundance, joy and hope, the figure of the Holy Spirit as a dove, representing the guidance of the Spirit in the bishop’s work with the community on issues facing the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, as well as his advocacy for healthy living: the human body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Below is the figure of a family under a representation of a roof in red, symbolizing strength. For the bishop, family is the foundation of values, and foundation of the Church. The family also represents unity notwithstanding differing cultural backgrounds.

The entire shield is impaled by the episcopal cross in gold, and ensigned by the heraldic headgear of the bishop with six tassels on either side, in green, the traditional color assigned to bishops. 

At the base is inscribed the bishop’s motto, VOLUMUS IESUM VIDERE, “We wish to see Jesus” from John 12, 21. Applied to the bishop as chief shepherd, it reflects the dominant theme of his ministry to lead the people to Jesus and help them to recognize Him in his own person, as well as in the ministry of service of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa.

Coat-of-arms and description by Rev. Tim. J. M. Ofrasio, S.J.

Statements & Messages

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, peace be with you!

As we celebrate Christmas this year 2016 and bring to memory the birth of Jesus, may our lives be deeply touched by God's love. As we contemplate on the child Jesus who is born, may our hearts be filled with joy. As your spiritual leader in the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, I manifest my spiritual closeness and accompaniment in prayer to all our faithful this season of Christmas. I also wish that every family, every home, every parish in the Diocese would live and share the memory of Jesus enshrined in peace, justice, unity, forgiveness, love and joy!

There is Christmas because God listened to the cry of every vulnerable heart longing for redemption. There is Christmas because in humble obedience Mary listened to the will of God amidst the canvass of a world in bleak uncertainty. There is Christmas for in the silence of the night in a lowly manger, God shared our humanity and made that human cry his very own, eloquently assuring us to listen to his promise of staying with us off to the road to reconciliation in relationship, hope in a reclaimed dignity and fullness of life.

Inspired by the very same spirit of listening, I hope to continue our pilgrimage of faith in 2017 by leading the Church of Chalan Kanoa to become a Church that reflectively listens. The memory of the love of God in Jesus which the Church keeps and safeguards, although does not change, but is relevantly challenged by the emerging pastoral situations and challenges in the contemporaneous times. That is why I desire to spend more time next year conducting pastoral visits and reflective discernments with the clergy, the parishes, the church organizations and communities—so that I may listen to you and with you in a consultative and dialogical manner and make my own “the joys and anxieties of the people.” With you, I also want to listen to the movement of the Spirit in the life and mission of our Diocese towards a more pastorally responsive direction that promotes the welfare of the people in the present times, attends to the needs of the poor and is joyfully faithful to the Lord’s call of evangelization.

Entrusting our Diocese to the protection of our Lady of Mount Carmel, may she accompany us as we continue to build, with the grace of God, our renewed spiritual home and revitalized Christian life which fosters communion, participation and mission and where the love of God is lived out through our love for one another.

Wishing you all and your families Christmas joy and a New Year filled with new blessings of God's goodness. Jesus is born! Let us rejoice!

 

+Ryan P. Jimenez, D.D.

Bishop of Chalan Kanoa

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

After the death of Jesus on the cross, his friends and followers got dispersed. They were sad and in anguish at their loss. They were dejected and downhearted. They were fearful and went into hiding. But then, from this situation of anguish, despondency and fear, a “reversal” took place, marked by deep fervor and enthusiasm for a “new beginning.”

The main reason for this “reversal” and “enthusiasm” was a series of experiences that were totally unexpected: these men and women encountered Jesus anew; they encountered the risen Lord; and they proclaimed his resurrection from the dead (cf. Mt 28, Mk 16, Lk 24, Jn 20-21). It was this encounter with the risen Lord that turned fear to courage, sadness to joy, and despondency to hope. The situation marked by death was transformed into one that bears life.

For the past few months, I have been visiting parishes in our beloved diocese. I have had the opportunity and the privilege to meet our priests and religious, our parishioners, our parish workers and volunteers. I have had the chance to listen to people and to see the condition of our parishes. From the various discussions and dialogue, there emerged some areas of concern. Let me just cite three: the youth, the clergy, and formation.

In these areas of concern, I think we can find the invitation to encounter Jesus Christ anew. We see in our youth the need for an experience of the Lord – one that will help them grow in their relationship with Him. We see our clergy being called to accompany the faithful more and more, and to encounter the Lord precisely in ministering to people. We see in our diocese the need for formation – at all levels – that would bring about a renewed encounter with the Lord. As the Easter story reminds us, it is this encounter with Jesus Christ that can truly transform us – as individuals and as an ecclesial community.

Dear brothers and sisters, may the Easter celebration be an occasion for a renewed encounter with the risen Lord, who brings us peace, joy and life. God bless you all!

In Christ,

+Ryan P. Jimenez, D.D.

Bishop of Chalan Kanoa

Prot. No. 224-02

March 5,2018

With deep sorrow I received the news of the death of Bishop Tomas Aguon Camacho, my predecessor, after a long bout of illness. At the age of 84, he returned to the Lord whom he had served so well throughout his years as our bishop in the Northern Marianas. He has left us, but he will always be remembered for his warm smile and his dedicated service to our church and to the whole of the CNMI.

Bishop Tomas was ordained the first bishop of the Northern Marianas Island on January 13, 1985 and served for more than 25 years until his retirement in April 2010. Since then he lived quietly in his residence at KannatTabla, welcoming visitors with his customary graciousness and continuing his service to the diocese he had governed so long through his constant prayer. It is easy for us to imagine that the long illness he patiently bore was another part of the lifelong offering he made for the people he loved and so faithfully served.

With my brother priests, and the family of the late Bishop Tomas, I humbly ask for your prayers for the eternal repose of his soul and for the comfort of his family. Beginning tonight at 6 PM, mass will be celebrated for Bishop Tomas at Mt. Carmel Cathedral   Mass, followed by rosary, will continue each evening until next Monday. The funeral mass is scheduled for Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 11 AM at Mt. Carmel Cathedral.

Sincerely in Christ,

+ Most Reverend Ryan P. Jimenez, D.D.
Bishop of Chalan Kanoa

Pastoral letters

January 28, 2018

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Greetings of peace!

Migration is – as Pope Francis affirms – a “sign of the times” (cf. Message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 15 August 2017). It is a complex reality that for several years now we have been facing and addressing. On the national level, immigration has been and continues to be a topic of debate and discourse. On the local level, immigration reform continues to be a priority concern due to restrictions on the immigrant workforce and their families. 

 A few days ago, the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act was introduced on the U.S. Senate floor. The proposed bill seeks to extend the CW-1 program beyond 2019, push the CW cap limit to 13,000 and set a new CW visa category for what will be called “legacy workers” that could be renewed every three years.

 With the varied positions and continuing debate on how we as a nation, and as a Commonwealth, will achieve reform, we continue to move forward and do our best – together – to honor the good that is already in place and to change what can be made better. We continue to seek answers, explore options, weigh things, and find solutions. In this regard, I wish to offer some points for reflection, consideration and guidance.

 First of all, in anything we do, we should seek and promote the common good – that is, “the sum of those conditions” in society that will enable individuals and groups to grow and be fulfilled (cf. Gaudium et spes, 26). In other words, we should see to it that the social environment, which is composed of many aspects or factors, promotes the growth of individuals and groups in society. Clearly, the achievement of the common good is a concerted effort of people, who go beyond their personal interest or the interest of their own group. Narrow-mindedness is to be abandoned in order to serve the greater good.

 We should remember, too, that “in the present condition of global society, where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable, the principle of the common good immediately becomes, logically and inevitably, a summon to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters.” (Laudato si’, 158)

 Second, we should always bear in mind that here, we are dealing with persons. We are not just addressing an issue. We are dealing with persons, who have their own personal stories, their rights and sentiments. We are concerned that local workers have access to jobs. We recognize the contribution of foreign workers and their families to our community.  Together we are a strong community.

 Once we lose sight of the fact that we are dealing with persons, we tend to be dismissive and detached.  It becomes easier for us to have that “throw away” mentality that Pope Francis criticizes. We may come up with quick solutions, but we may end up, too, treating people as expendable.

 Third, the reality of migration invites us to examine and to confront ourselves. Are we doing things to maintain “our lifestyle,” “our way of life”? Or are we being invited to change, even our way of life, because that is the good thing to do? Aren’t we perhaps being called to live simply so that others can simply live?

 Indeed, “Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life, and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption... [It] proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little.” (Laudato si’, 222)

 To those among us who would argue that migrant workers have no place in our islands, I wish to repeat the words of Deuteronomy: “You too should love the foreigner, for that is what you were.” (cf. Dt 10, 19). And to the migrant workers and their families, I wish to repeat what the prophet Jeremiah told the Jewish exiles in Babylon: “Seek the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you; pray for it to the Lord, for upon its welfare your own depends.” (Jer 29, 7).

 These words from Scripture remind us to look at one another with kindness, benevolence, and charity; to look at one another as neighbors, as human beings with gifts and talents – not as strangers, not as competitors or potential enemies. We are members of one family. We are all God’s children. Thus, dealing with migration should bring about in us – instead of tension and distrust – a keen sense of solidarity and compassion.

 May God bless us all!

Sincerely in Christ,

+ Most Reverend Ryan P. Jimenez, D.D.

Bishop of Chalan Kanoa

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Peace! 

 As your Bishop, I must exercise my obligation to inform you about several pending bills in our legislature that will affect the common good if enacted into law.  These pending bills deal with gambling.

Leadership in a community is a sacred trust. It is the responsibility of everyone in the community - but particularly, the leaders in the community - to pursue the common good for the benefit of the community.  (cf. Acts 2:43-47; 4: 32-35.) It is helpful to remember that the common good refers to those circumstances which allow us to become that which God created us to be.  Thus, the common good includes not only economic benefit but cultural, educational, spiritual, moral and material development. (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.1925).

 

Part of the role of the Church is to be a moral guide. That is, the church must help the community discern what is the best path to take as it establishes policies and laws in pursuit of the common good, based on the principles found in the Gospels.

 

In discerning the morality of various acts several criteria can be used. A particular act can be seen as inherently good, neutral or evil. An inherently good action should be pursued. An inherently evil action should be avoided. A neutral act should be considered in light of additional criteria. Saving a life or helping someone in dire need would be an inherently good act. The taking of innocent life, as in murder, is inherently evil.  

 

In its desire for a sustainable economic and tax base the CNMI leadership has flirted with commercial gambling for decades. This often has taken the form of poker machines and casinos. Gambling has traditionally been considered by the church to be a morally neutral act. The criteria that are applied is an examination of the consequences of this technically neutral act. That is, what impact does commercial gambling have on the community? Does it promote the common good? Does it work against the common good?

 

Regarding the various proposals, the church has consistently opposed the various forms of commercial gambling that have been proposed for the CNMI. Commercial gambling has been a consistent source of problems for many people in the local community who have suffered from gambling addiction, loss of property value due to proximity to gambling establishments and increased crime rates. Karidat and our clergy have had first hand experience over the decades in trying to help persons who have been negatively impacted by commercial gambling. It is because of this experience and the negative consequences of commercial gambling that the church has opposed commercial gambling in this community.

 

Several years ago, a zoning law was passed which provided for commercial gambling but limited it to specific areas that would focus on the tourist industry and avoid the negative consequences it has had on the local community. This seemed a reasonable compromise. Recently the legislature passed HLB 20-48, which rezones previous residential areas into mixed commercial/residential areas, with the intention of allowing commercial poker establishments in residential areas. It appears that this bill will undo the compromise embodied in the current zoning law. Further, the bill was passed without public hearings and contrary to the recommendation of zoning professionals.

 

As Bishop of the People of God in the CNMI, I respect the right of the Legislature to pass laws regulating public life in the CNMI, even if I disagree with certain measures, such as the expansion of commercial gambling. I respect the right of the Governor to sign or veto those bills sent to him by the Legislature and then to enforce those laws. However, as Bishop, I request that HLB 20-48 not be signed into law. Allow the community to present testimony and debate the issue by holding hearings on rezoning. Provide an example of real leadership, that is not afraid to pursue the common good in the light of public scrutiny and debate.

 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

 

 Most Rev. Ryan Jimenez, DD

Bishop of Chalan Kanoa

 

05 August 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

            The heart of Christian discipleship is living out the commandment of love. Love is manifest not only in our single-minded devotion to the Lord but even more so in the actions that flow from our love of neighbor. Such love is realized in the practical charity of individual good works that we perform for the least of our sisters and brothers (Matt. 25:34-46 ) That love is realized in our pursuit of justice for the weak and vulnerable among us as a Christian community. Our pursuit of justice is integral with our mission as a church in which Christ compels us to “go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation (Mk 16:15).  A guide called "Faithful Citizenship" published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops underlines these thoughts.

            There are many challenges that humanity faces which have moral consequences. These challenges are at the heart of public life and the center of the pursuit of the common good (Faithful Citizenship, no.2). The Church has an obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society. The Church does not support or oppose specific political parties or candidates for office. However, the Church does have an obligation to instruct the faithful on the basic principles to consider when making choices that would have moral implications for society. 

            In a democracy such as the Northern Mariana Islands, the people have the right to choose their government leaders. Our leaders, in turn, have the obligation to carry out their duties and responsibilities in accordance with the constitution and duly enacted laws. When they do not do so, we hold them accountable. As Christians, we expect our leaders to also adhere to moral principles that further the best interest of the community. The electoral process at every election is the means by which we the voters decide whether we are satisfied with the performance of our leaders in office. This is the way democracy works. And this is the reason why the right to vote is so important.

            As Christians, we choose as our leaders those individuals who will advance policies and legislation that do not contradict our faith and morals. This requires us, as voters, to have a well-informed conscience in choosing the individuals who will govern us wisely.

            The November 2018 elections will be held in three months. The results of these elections can profoundly shape life in the CNMI for years to come. As individual voters and political candidates, as well as a community of disciples, we share a grave responsibility for the future we are shaping through our choices in the voting booth, and for those who are elected, in their respective offices. As your bishop, I urge you to take this responsibility with great seriousness. Don’t allow divisive politics, ideology or even family ties to sway your decision in the months ahead.  Rather, apply the basic moral principles of our Faith to the unfolding political process, so that our political leadership will reflect the best of our community and adhere to fundamental moral principles.

            The Church urges each of the faithful to carefully discern the issues affecting our community and to use your conscience in examining these issues. We should always remember that, as Christians, we must adhere to the basic moral principles of the Church that enhance the good of everyone in our community.  Toward this goal, we will explore Catholic social teaching in the pages of the North Star between now and November. As part of our Pastoral Plan that we implemented this year, the Social Justice Commission will feature articles on this topic in the North Star. Please make use of these resources in shaping your decision in November and in your support for or opposition to various proposals in the months and years that follow. Be engaged in the political process. Allow your Faith to guide and enlighten your political engagement.

            Finally, I invite all of us to pray.  Let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

                                                                                                Sincerely yours in Christ,

                                                                                              /S/ +Most Rev. Ryan Jimenez, DD

                                                                                                Bishop of Chalan Kanoa

 

26 October 2018

 

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

Typhoons are not strangers to us. They batter our islands every year. And yet, knowing that it is a fact of life in the CNMI does not make the situation any easier when we are struck by one. We endure the strong winds and punishing rain, as the typhoon sweeps over the Commonwealth. Then we struggle to recover and rebuild in the weeks and months that follow. It is never easy.

 

A few days ago, we were struck by typhoon Yutu, a category five super typhoon. We are still reeling from the experience and the devastation it caused. Experts say that it will take weeks, perhaps even months, before basic services are restored and we can return to a somewhat normal lifestyle.

 

As we assess the damage and the destruction wrought by the typhoon, let us turn to God our Father. Indeed, "God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress." (Ps 46:2) Like the blind beggar in our gospel this Sunday, let us turn to Jesus and implore him, “Lord, have pity on us!” (cf. Mk 10:47). We can be sure: the Lord will answer us. God will come to our aid.

 

Let us also help one another. Let us act as one community, filled with serene courage and stirred by compassion and charity. Let us be a sign of Christian unity and love. By the love we have for one another, we make manifest that we are truly disciples of Jesus (cf. Jn 13:35).

 

Indeed, relying on the Lord and reaching out to one another in compassion, we will get through this difficult time.

 

We originally planned to celebrate a “mass for unity” this Sunday to remind all the candidates in the coming elections and the rest of the faithful, that despite differences in politics, we are all one in Christ. We wanted to remind people that we must work together and support one another if we are to progress as a community.

 

In the wake of typhoon Yutu, we find it all the more fitting and timely to celebrate a “mass for unity” not just for our candidates but for each one of us as members of the Body of Christ.  We need to come together and encourage one another to reach out to the vulnerable and the hurt among us. We need to work together and seek the common good, especially in the difficult days ahead. Indeed, the nobility and the beauty of a community are seen even in a state of emergency and calamity, in how it attends to the weak and the wounded.

 

Be assured of my prayers in the days to come. Let us all pray for one another and let us reflect that mutual concern in our actions.

 

 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

 

 

/s/ +Ryan P. Jimenez

Bishop of Chalan Kanoa

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