POPE Benedict XVI has declared a Jubilee Year from January 2011 to January 2012 to mark UST’s Quadricentennial, underscoring the spiritual nature of the celebrations at Asia’s only Pontifical University.

The Holy Father won’t make it to the festivities but will deliver a recorded video message on January 28, University officials said.

In a decree last December 21, the Roman Catholic Church’s Apostolic Penitentiary allowed Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales to bestow a Papal Blessing carrying a Plenary Indulgence following the Jubilee Mass on January 24.

A separate decree also granted plenary indulgence to “all those who piously join the sacred rites, ceremonies, and activities in celebration of the Jubilee at the University of Santo Tomas” upon the request of the Rector, Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P.

Plenary indulgence wipes out all temporal punishment due to sin, according to Church teaching. But receiving the indulgence requires confession, Holy Communion, and prayers for the intentions of the Pope.

The Apostolic Penitentiary is one of the three tribunals of the Roman Curia, which has the authority to absolve excommunications for grave sins, dispense of impediments to the sacraments, and govern indulgences.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Fr. Florentino Bolo, O.P., secretary general, said the Pope will give a video message following the Thanksgiving Mass to be offered by his official representative, Archbishop Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, prefect of the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education.

“Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales played a big role in the request for a papal greeting,” Bolo said.

Bolo said the University no longer had to send a team to the Holy See as the Vatican Press Office volunteered to record the message.

West Side Story this side of town

Other celebrants in the Thanksgiving Mass include Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, University Chancellor Fr. Bruno Cadore, O.P., master of the Dominican Order, Rosales, Vice Chancellor Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, Jr., O.P., and Fr. Rodel Aligan, O.P., prior of the Convent of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Around 130 bishops from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines will also come for the Mass, Bolo said.

Public Affairs chief Giovanna Fontanilla said dignitaries, members of the diplomatic corps, and alumni-priests will attend.

“Thousands are expected to come. We are hoping to gather as many attendees to the Mass because the grand dinner will immediately follow,” she added.

Plenary indulgence

Bolo said the Vatican granted the special indulgence to those who will attend the opening of the Jubilee door on January 24, opening of the Quadricentennial celebration, the Quadricentennial Thanksgiving Mass presided by Cardinal Grocholewski, the Solemnity of St. Thomas Aquinas, feasts of Dominican saints and UST martyrs celebrated by the University, masses presided by the Archbishop of Manila, spiritual exercise participated in by students, faculty, staff and alumni, and visits to the Santisimo Rosario Chapel.

Penitents should recite The Creed, the Our Father, and the Hail Mary, pray for intentions of the Pope, and prepare themselves spiritually.

The Rector said in a press conference last January 21 that the indulgence will be effective until January 2012.

Bolo said: “When you say indulgence, it is to forgive born out of the sacrifices of the [saints]. Because of their prayers, indulgence, we are remitted of our temporal punishment.”

The tea invasion

UST sought the apostolic blessing and plenary indulgence last November from Fortunato Cardinal Baldelli, head of Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary. Kalaine Nikka Kay C. Grafil with reports from Cliff Harvey C. Venzon


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