Vatican grants plenary indulgence to the first Mass of Laoag’s first indigenous priest
By Fr. Mickey Cardenas
August 2, 2018
The Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary granted a special plenary indulgence to those who attended the first Mass of the first man coming from an indigenous community to be ordained priest in the Diocese of Laoag
Fr. Metchell Valdepeña of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in Nueva Era, Ilocos Norte was ordained priest on July 31 by Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba.
He celebrated his first Mass at three in the afternoon of the same day in his home-parish of St. Gabriel.
Fr. Ericson Josue, historian and archivist of the diocese of Laoag, said the the decree granting a plenary indulgence was signed on June 28, 2018–in the name and authority of Pope Francis–by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the Major Penitentiary. It was attested to by Msgr. Krzysztof Nykiel, Regent of the Major Penitentiary.
“The decree mandates that whoever attends the First Mass of Valdepeña would receive a special Plenary Indulgence while praying for the intentions of the Pope, who truly does penance motivated by charity, purifying themselves in the Sacramental Confession, and reception of the most holy Eucharist. Plenary Indulgence removes all the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven,” Josue elaborated.
Valdepeña is the first to receive this Vatican privilege in the Northern Luzon region and from the diocese of Laoag, noted Diocesan Chancellor Fr. Rey Respicio.
“This is a special privilege that the Apostolic Penitentiary accords to deacons who request for the privilege–on the occasion of their sacerdotal ordination–for the benefit of the faithful,” Respicio explained.
“The Diocese of Laoag is again in great jubilation and thanksgiving for this rare privilege granted by the Vatican,” he said.
“The new priest is very thankful to his bishop, the Most Rev. Renato Mayugba for the full support and fatherly concern to him and his fellow members of the clergy,” the priest added.
Nueva Era is the south eastern-most town of Ilocos Norte and is inhabited mostly by the indigenous communities of “Tinguians” and “Itnegs”.
Valdepeña, who is from the ‘Itneg’ community, expressed his overwhelming joy for the special gift he has received for his ordination.
“This is a gift not only for me but for the entire people of God for whom I am ordained,” he said.