THE Baguio Cathedral joins five other cathedrals in the country included by Pope Francis among those “Jubilee churches” permitted to receive plenary indulgence during the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.
The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that the Baguio Cathedral, more formally known as Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral, joins the National Shrine-Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo Cathedral); Saint Joseph Cathedral Diocesan Shrine (E. Luna St., Butuan City, Agusan del Norte); San Agustin Metropolitan Cathedral (Cagayan de Oro City); Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral; and the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral).
An indulgence, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “is the remission of the temporal punishment due to sins, which have already been forgiven.”
An indulgence is not a quick ticket to heaven, as St. John Paul II once said; rather, it is an aid for the real conversion that leads to eternal happiness. Sins are forgiven through the sacrament of penance, but then there is a kind of punishment still due the sinner, the pope said in 1999.
The decree was issued to the CBCP on Feb. 25, which was signed by the head of Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza.
The decree stated that the celebration, which starts on April 4, is an “opportunity to increase the virtues of faith, hope and charity” and that the plenary indulgence linked to those who will go on a devotional pilgrimage to the 537 “Jubilee churches” is available until April 22, 2022.
The pilgrims, in order to avail of the indulgence, are required to go to confession, receive the Eucharist, pray for the intentions of the pope, and pray “for the fidelity of the Filipino people to their Christian calling, for the increase of priestly and religious vocations and for the defense of the family, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer, the profession of faith, and an invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary”.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, plenary indulgence is also extended to the sick, the elderly, and those who have legitimate reasons for not leaving their homes on conditions that “they join themselves spiritually to the celebrations, offering their prayers and sufferings, or the inconvenience of one’s own life to the merciful God through Mary.
The priests were also asked to facilitate the Sacrament of Penance and the administration of holy communion to the sick “with a willing and generous spirit.”