Father Cesar Ageas, parochial administrator and then pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Auburn since July 1, 2012, retired on June 30 after nearly 23 years of service to seven parishes in the Diocese of Sacramento.
Before coming to Sacramento, he served for 13 years in two dioceses in Mindanao in the southern Philippines.
“My years in the diocese have been challenging, but also happy ones,” Father Ageas told Catholic Herald magazine. “I’ve had the opportunity to serve not only the Filipino community but also parishioners of various ethnicities and cultures.”
Father Ageas, who is 65, is a native of Sibutad, Zamboanga del Norte in the Philippines and entered Pope John XXIII Seminary in Cebu in 1974. He was in his third year of business administration studies in college when he felt the calling to the priesthood.
He was ordained on April 12, 1983 for the Diocese of Dipolog, but sent immediately after ordination to the neighboring Diocese of Pagadian, whose ordinary was Bishop Jesus Tuquib for three years. Father Ageas served as a parochial vicar at St. Nino Cathedral in Pagadian City and as spiritual director of Holy Child Seminary in the same city.
From 1986 to 1996, at the request of Bishop Tuquib as the new archbishop of Cagayan de Oro, he was assigned as a parochial vicar of Our Lady of the Snows, El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental. After a year, Father Ageas was appointed as a spiritual director for San Jose College Seminary in Cagayan de Oro City. After serving as pastor of two different parishes, he was sent for further studies at Holy Cross Pontifical University in Rome and graduated with a licentiate in canon law.
He returned to the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro to serve as a spiritual director and later as vice rector of San Jose College Seminary and was also in charge of marriage annulment cases in the archdiocese.
In November 1996, he and Father Alfredo Tamayo (now pastor of Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Lake Almanor) were sent by the archbishop of Cagayan de Oro to come to the Diocese of Sacramento at the request of Bishop William K. Weigand. Initially, he and Father Tamayo were granted to minister in the diocese for only three years. Later on, they were permitted to continue their ministry in the diocese. In April 2004, Father Ageas was incardinated as a diocesan priest.
Father Ageas said he adjusted to American culture and appreciated attending an educational program for international priests. He served as parochial vicar of St. Christopher Parish in Galt from December 1996 to June 1997; at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Sacramento from October 1997 to July 2001, while also working in the diocese’s tribunal; and at St. Basil Parish in Vallejo from August 2001 to September 2003.
From September 2003 to January 2005, he was pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Sacramento. From January 2005 to November 2009, he was founding pastor of Divine Mercy Parish, established by Bishop Weigand in 2005 to serve the fast-growing north Natomas area of Sacramento. During those years, parishioners held weekday Masses in houses and weekend Masses at various elementary schools in the area. With a community consisting of more than 500 families, Divine Mercy Church was built at 2231 Club Center Drive and dedicated in September 2009.
From July 2010 to September 2012 Father Ageas was parochial vicar and then pastoral administrator of Holy Family Parish in Citrus Heights. During these years he also served in the tribunal as judge and defender of the bond, as well as adjutant judicial vicar. From July 2012 to June 2015, he also served a three-year term as defender of the bond.
On July 1, 2012, he was appointed as parochial administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Auburn, and subsequently as pastor on Sept. 30, 2014. During his time at St. Joseph, parishioners completed a new parish hall, a solar panels project, renovation of the rectory and parking lot, and repainting the interior of the church.
Father Ageas said he will return to his home diocese in Dipolog City for three months following his retirement to assist with Masses in parishes. When he is not in the Philippines, he will reside at St. Mel Parish in Fair Oaks, and assist with Masses there as well as at St. John Vianney Parish in Rancho Cordova.
Reflecting on his priestly service in parishes and in the tribunal, Father Ageas noted: “I was not expecting to serve in the Sacramento Diocese for 23 years. It was God’s plan for me to go to Rome and study canon law and it was part of his plan for me to come here and share my priestly ministry. When my bishop sent me here, he said I was being sent because we had to share resources. My years in the diocese have been a great privilege, and led me me to experience the American church and to learn more about different approaches in ministry. I am grateful to God for everything.”