Photo by Paul Allyson R. Quiambao

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 Entrance. Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. (left photo), Rector Magnificus of UST, opens the Jubilee Door. Photo by Paul Allyson R. QuiambaoLast January 24, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales formally opened the Quadricentennial festivities with the declaration of the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church or UST Chapel as a Jubilee church, granting pious visitors a plenary indulgence, which remits punishment due to sin under Church teaching.

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

The Holy Entrance. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales (right photo) kneels at the entrance of the UST Chapel with De la Rosa looking over. Photo by Jilson Seckler C. TiuA separate decree also bestows 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. The letter by Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, head of the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary, states that the indulgence can only be received upon three conditions—going to confession, receiving the Holy Communion, and praying for the intentions of the Pope.

“When we go to confession, our sins are remitted, but the punishment to some of these sins are still attached,” said Faculty of Sacred Theology Dean Fr. Rodel Aligan, O.P. “[Plenary indulgence] remits us of these punishment before we go to heaven.”

The decree also states that those who wish to receive the blessing are encouraged to dispose themselves properly through spiritual exercises and pious invocations addressed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Catherine of Alexandria, or St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of the University.

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Thanksgiving Mass

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.

Ceremonial opening of Jubilee Door

Last January 24, Thomasians witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime Church event when Cardinal Rosales struck the portal of the chapel with a hammer three times and knelt at the entrance. De la Rosa, Rector of the University, opened the door to let the penitents process. The choir sang “Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat,” or “Christ conquers, Christ rules, Christ commands.”

Cardinal Rosales said the Holy Door symbolizes Christ, the only door to salvation.

The Cardinal presided over a Concelebrated Mass in which he called on Thomasians to spread the University’s blessings as it marks its 400th year. The Thomasian community must share the value of education brought by the “miracle of the first door UST opened 400 years ago,” he said.

Dwelling on the vision of UST’s founder, Miguel de Benavides, O.P., the third archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Rosales paid tribute to Thomasian education and its contributions to society.

“Education is beneficial to one’s own formation—for one to be able to contribute to the good society with their duty to God and country,” Cardinal Rosales said.

De la Rosa said the proclamation of the Holy Year is a “gift from the Church” to the University. Mika Rafaela A. Barrios and Kalaine Nikka Kay C. Grafil with reports from Brylle B. Tabora

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