LAOAG City, June 16, 2011? The Diocese of Laoag marked its Golden Jubilee Year in a two-day celebration highlighting the arrival of Christianity in the province.
On June 4, the diocese in cooperation with the city government of Laoag, has erected and dedicated a cross in Ermita Hill, this city to commemorate the arrival of Christianity in Ilocos Norte.
The place was the same spot where the first Mass in Ilocos Norte was celebrated by Fr. Alonzo de Alvarado, OSA in 1572, as Juan de Zalcedo, a Spanish conquistador reached the Padsan River of Laoag.
Six parishes were designated to have a jubilee door namely, Saint William Cathedral Parish (Laoag), Saint Lawrence Deacon Parish (Bangui), St. Augustine Parish (Paoay), Saint Joseph Parish (Dingras), Saint Monica Parish (Sarrat), and Saint John the Baptist Parish (Badoc), where the Shrine of the Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc, the patroness of the diocese is located.
Devotees who go on pilgrimage every Saturday in these churches and complete the necessary conditions set by the Apostolic Penitentiary will be granted a plenary indulgence.
The Jubilee door of Saint Monica Parish, Sarrat was first blessed followed by a Mass officiated by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, a native of the town, with Laoag Bishop Sergio L. Utleg, Northern Luzon bishops, and other bishops who come from Ilocos Norte and the Laoag clergy. The occasion was also graced with the presence of Gov. Imee Marcos and Rep. Imelda Marcos.
The Diocesan Museum located in Sarrat was likewise inaugurated and blessed. The museum contains the historical facts and relics of the Diocese of Laoag.
At the Cathedral, the Diocesan Exhibit and Trade Fair was opened in the afternoon of June 4. A Street Pageantry participated by 11 diocesan schools was held in front of the Ilocos Norte Capitol outdoor stage.
On June 5, Bishop Utleg led the Grand Jubilee Eucharistic Celebration together with guest bishops, the Laoag clergy and Nueva Segovia clergy.
The laity and religious congregations actively participated in the celebration. Bishop Utleg promulgated the fruits of the revisiting of the Diocesan Pastoral Assembly Decrees of 1994.
A solemn procession around Laoag followed the Mass where each parish brought the images of their patrons. The night was celebrated with a play dubbed â€œSuray ti Pammati: Historical Foundation of the Diocese of Laoag.â€
The Diocese of Laoag was created on June 5, 1961 from the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia and was canonically erected on July 26 of the same year. The diocese is composed of the whole civilian province of Ilocos Norte. (CBCPNews)