Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, apostolic nuncio to Israel and Cyprus, relived the moment when he celebrated his first Mass as priest 50 years ago on Thursday, September 29.
The archbishop marked his golden sacerdotal jubilee with a liturgy at the Carmelite Monastery Chapel in Naga City, where he had his Mass of thanksgiving a day after his ordination.
Archbishop Yllana gave thanks to God for his priestly vocation “and for the call to be His minister, unworthy as I am.”
Priests, he said, are entrusted with an “extraordinary, sublime, and supernatural ministry” — proclaiming the Gospel, celebrating the divine mysteries, and administering the sacraments to the faithful.
“The priestly ministry is [an] undeserved gift for which I will never cease thanking the good Lord,” said Archbishop Yllana, who is now 74 years old.
Among those present were Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres, and other bishops from Bicol — Jose Rojas of Libmanan, Jose Alan Dialogo of Sorsogon, Manolo de los Santos of Virac, and Rex Andrew Alarcon of Daet.
Born in Naga, the archbishop received his priestly ordination from the hands of the late Archbishop Teofisto Alberto on March 19, 1972, and was incardinated in the Archdiocese of Caceres.
As a young priest, he took further studies at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, where he graduated Doctor juris utriusque (Doctor of Both Laws).
After completing his studies at the Ecclesiastical Academy in 1984, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See, and served at pontifical representations in Ghana, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Lebanon, Hungary and Taiwan.
In December 2001, Pope John Paul II appointed him apostolic nuncio to Papua New Guinea and consecrated him bishop on January 6, 2002 in St. Peter’s Basilica. Subsequently, he entrusted him with the leadership of the nunciature in the Solomon Islands.
Pope Benedict XVI named him apostolic nuncio to Pakistan in 2006 and to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010.
In February 2015, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Yllana apostolic nuncio to Australia, a post he served until he was transferred to Israel in June 2021.