Survey Promo
RVA App Promo Image

Philippines Carmelites elect new Prior Provincial

Members of the Provincial Council of the Philippine Province of the Order of Carmelites pose for a photograph during their provincial chapter. PHOTO COURTESY OF RITCHIE SALGADO, O.CARM. VIA LICAS NEWS

Father Rico P. Ponce, O. Carm. was elected as the new Prior Provincial of the Philippines Carmelites, at St. Scholastica’s Spirituality Centre in Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines, from March 6 to 10.

The Chapter theme was "Moving on as Synodal and Radical Witnesses of Being Disciples of the Risen Lord."

During the Chapter, the following were elected to leadership:

Provincial | Provincial | Provinciale
Fr. Rico P. Ponce, O. Carm.

1st Councilor | 1er Consejero | 1o Consigliere
Fr. Esmeraldo A. Reforeal, O. Carm.

2nd Councilor | 2do Consejero | 2o Consigliere
Fr. Joseph Roque, O. Carm.

3rd Councilor | 3er Consejero | 3o Consigliere
Fr. Rhen Caculitan, O. Carm.

4th Councilor | 4to Consejero | 4o Consigliere
Fr. Christopher Labrador, O. Carm.

Other Members | Otros Miembros | Altri Membri

Student Friar | Frate Studente | Fraile Estudiante
Brother Brandon Bahayanan, O. Carm.

Lay Associate | Collaboratore Laico | Collaborador Laico
Sister Maria Angela Ureta

Meál O'Neill and Robert Thomas Puthussery, the General Councilor for Asia-Australia-Oceania, as well as 64 solemnly professed members of the province who work in the Philippines and overseas, were present for the province's first open chapter.

In the chapter, there were also 14 full-fledged lay associates and ten friars in simple vows.

In the Philippines, the Carmelite Province is under the tutelage and patronage of Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Dutch Carmelite priest, educator, journalist, mystic, and martyr.

Fr. Rico P. Ponce, O. Carm. The new Carmelites provincial of the Philippines Province. Photo: RVA

Father Ponce was born in Siquijor. In 1986, he joined the Carmelites and took vows in 1993. As a priest, he was ordained in December 1998.

He teaches at Mary Hill School of Theology, the Institute of Spirituality in Asia, and the Institute for Formation and Religious Studies. His teaching focuses on spirituality, theology, the social teachings of the Church, and research methodology.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.