Monday, September 28, 2009

A Move to a Musical Liturgy

Our brother Jun shares his experience in attending the 24th National Meeting of Diocesan Directors of Liturgy held in Baguio City.

(Academic Co note: it seems like we have found ourselves a new resident writer to the blog, it is quite interesting though to see Jun's style of writing, he tends to write in 3rd person and calls himself 'Jun' instead of 'I'. Just a little observation :P )


Musical Liturgy is a new trend in the Western countries specially in Europe and in America. In the Philippines it is also proposed by Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB for a more participative way of doing liturgy. There was a statement “he who speaks best prays best, yet he who sings well prays double”. The Music of the Liturgical Year was the main topic for this year’s 24th National Meeting of Diocesan Directors of Liturgy held at Venus Parkview Hotel at Baguio City last Sept 21-24. It was the yearly meeting of liturgists and liturgical directors in the Philippines. So far it was the biggest with 264 participants from 65 ecclesiastical territories out of 86 in the Philippines. These are composed of priests, religious men and women, seminarians and lay co workers.

Sr. Caire Espiritu PDDM and Jun were the delegates for the said meeting. They were also an alumna of San Beda Graduate School of Liturgy and an alumnus of the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy, respectively. In which in the said meeting they also met old friends and colleges from the SBC-GSL and PIL. It was also special meetings since the Asian Liturgical Conference were also the audience in the said meeting. The host which is the Diocese of Baguio tried its best to accommodate all delegates and also they were able to entertain them with the tribal dances of the Ifugao tribal people.

It was a three day event of prayers, conferences and new acquaintances. Since this year’s topic is about “The Music of the Liturgical Year”, some of the big names in the Liturgical Music composers were these years’ speakers. The rooster of speakers is Fr. Nilo Mangusad of Manila, Fr Benildo Maramba of the Benedictines, Fr. Manoling Francisco and Fr Timoteo Ofracio from the Society of Jesus. Yet it would not also be complete without the great Fr. Anscar Chupungo, father of all Filipino liturgist and Dra Jo Manabat, dean of the SBC-GSL. Most of the talks and sessions are done in the conference hall of Venus Parkview Hotel while the liturgical celebrations were done at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel near the hotel.
[Jun with Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB ]

How could one imagine that the songs like 'Take and Receive', 'Paghahandog ng sarili' (Kunin Mo o Diyos), and 'Pag-aalay ng Puso '(minsan lamang), which are the common Offertory songs are not the appropriate song or hymn for the Preparation of the Gifts. Fr Manoling says his mea culpa and make amends by composing new hymns for the Preparation of the gifts, which he will try to publish and release soon.

The meeting would not also be complete without a tour around Baguio. In this year’s meeting the delegates went to Mines View, Camp John Hay, Teacher’s Camp and the Philippine Military Academy. Yet not all joined since some of the delegates had been already to Baguio several times. It was a morning free for those who did not joined the tour.

Each federation of the Diocesan Liturgist also had their own sessions during afternoon of the 2nd day. Though formerly Sr Claire and Jun were members of the Federation of Tagalog Liturgists, they joined the Mindanao Liturgical Federation meeting since both of them are now in Davao. The Mindanao Liturgical Federation would release soon 160 new liturgical songs in Cebuano . It is a fruits of the labor of a lay woman from Tagum, who compose all these. Then Davao will also release new homilies and prayers for the blessings. Yet other federations have their own new moves in their own liturgical celebrations.

The last day of the meeting was dedicated to the late Fr Eduardo Hontiveros, SJ the great Filipino Liturgical composer. All of the music for the prayers and liturgical celebrations were based on his compositions. Also at the last day the new proposed statement of the liturgist was made. Though all the delegates could say their opinions yet the official Diocesan Director of each Ecclesiastical territory has the active vote. There would be a new wave again. Yet it seems the movement will still be on the way. There are new proposals for the liturgy in the Philippines. Still it is up to the CBCP to approve the changes in the liturgy.

[Jun with other participants]

The meeting ended with the Closing Eucharist presided by the Bishop of Baguio at the Baguio Cathedral. It was followed by a short program and dinner at the Rooftop of Porta Vaga near the Cathedral.

[Jun with Sr Claire]

In the last, I liked to quote that it is said in the church documents that “music should move the faithful into a prayerful encounter with God”. Even Pope Benedict XVI in his mass in Montserrat, Spain last April said, “by the means of music the liturgy could be more alive and vibrant”. Still there would be a long struggle to make a more musical liturgy for the modern times.


[Jun with Sr Chai... wink :P]

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Paintball the Second Time Around

As I entered the refectory…most of the students are already there…some were already suited up…some still just got out of bed. It was Monday, the 21st of September. So what was so special about that day? It was the day that we will have our paintball “war games”. Earlier, we were already talking about strategy, some also talked about the last time we had it. It was safe to say that some were a bit anxious about the event than the others.

There were four teams all in all and it was based on the teams we had for our “sportsfest” that was currently in progress. The first two teams suited up and began playing and the others followed which ended as it usually does, with one victor emerging.

What was so great about this game? Many that previous evening had some reaction to its violent nature, and in a sense it is true that it has a violent side to it, but there are also many who see its value in terms of team working and knowing what’s your strength and how others see it and how the group complemented each other and trusted in each others decision. At the end of the day though, there was enjoyment and everyone had enjoyed. But of the seniors, only Fr. Cruz joined in.

I hope that the sports next month will be taking into consideration games in which the senior community is willing to join in. I will be part of that team and hopefully we can get a good ideas in which it will not be against ideals of some people…but I guess we will have to concretize our “respecting and appreciating our uniqueness” while still being able to live within our community.

A Serene Prayer

After months of pestering (probably to the point of annoyance), we are finally starting to get articles contributions from different brothers. The Academic co. strongly hope that more brothers will be generous in sharing their thoughts and writing talents... Advance thanks to all the contributors.

It is necessary to start with in Vietnam (!) to see that this reflection has a foundation. In Vietnam, the more the place of worship is serene, the more it is sacred for the people. Buddhist Temples are built in quiet and tranquil locations with the big banyans around; The Lady of Lavang shrine is in the forest; etc.

The following is an introduction to the serene prayer during our recent Wednesday’s Vesper.

The arrangement of the Chapel was as in a Buddhist Temple. In Buddhism, there is a treasure that we can learn and we can think that it is from the Holy Spirit. This treasure is known as Buddhist meditation or Zen. Zen in Vietnam is ngoi thien (sitting meditation), not lying or standing. Zen must be done in a quite place with soft light. In other words, the serenity helps meditation to be successful. A successful Zen encompasses ‘calm thinking’, ‘a soft heart’ and ‘a bright mind’. The first is the consequence of the second and the second is the consequence of the third.

Our prayer should somehow also lead us to a bright mind. Therefore, during the serene Vesper, with the dimly lit candles and the stuffy smoke; the seating on the floor in a straight line (one direction indicating support and communion with each other) are seen as a whole to help community in a united move toward God; to have a bright mind. The bright mind for us is the awareness of the presence of God through the communion with confreres and with the universe.

There is a philosophical thought of Buddhism about interbeing that could aid us in our prayer. This thought is preached by a Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. He sees the interconnectedness of all things, not just humans or even animate objects, but all forms of existence in the universe: including the forms created by humans to connect with God and the universe. It is because all things are interconnected that individuals could be concerned for the wellbeing of all. The liturgy of the Hours embraces the whole Church, the whole world and the whole universe. Zen manners help us in some ways to have an intimacy embrace, concern, and union in our prayer.

To conclude for this introduction of serene prayer, it is right to say that inculturation on one hand entails the penetration of the Gospel values into our Asian culture, but on the other hand, it includes the element where we grow and are purified by the culture. Zen does not belong only to Buddhism alone, rather it is a beautiful heritage of Asian culture. A serene prayer therefore could be acknowledged in our Liturgy of the Hours.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Last weekend the students were involved in the vocation work of the community.

The search-inners had a taste of the international aspect of the Redemptorist. Different nationalities had their share. Ryan and Shaun from Cebu were the speakers while Bird from Thailand and RJ from Manila shared their vocation stories and Ole from Thailand and Roby from Indonesia shared their experience in the mission. You may be asking where is Vietnam, well… Joseph had been a good entertainer and ice breakers.

There were 34 who attended the said search-in, everybody enjoyed the activities and a lot of them indicated their interest in attending the next gathering. As of now I could sense that there are a lot of them who are good candidates. Comparing with the previous batch of search-inners last August, this group is more active and participative.

Oops… I might forget the Ipoh/Singapore helped too. Terence was very eager and accommodating in the registration, while Eugene was energetic in the sports and the presence of John was so helpful in the mass.

The next activity of the vocation is this coming weekend with the Young Professionals. They will have a lunch with us. As of now there are three who confirmed their attendance.

Let us pray that many will respond to the Redemptorist vocation.

Sports... Healthy, Yet it’s just so Dangerous!

Sometimes, after something bad happened, the best thing to do is to look back at it when all is back to normal and learn a lesson… or you can just have a good laugh! Whichever you find more fruitful.

Recently, in order to hype up our increasing mundane life, and maybe to yank the butts off the couch of so many of us students who failed our medical test (20 out of 24, can you imagine that?), our wonderful community committee decided to break us into groups and have us compete with each others on “friendly” sports games. A little non-threatening fun, so they say…

We had four teams, comprising of students and seniors, even our demure dean Sr Miriam decided to join a team (more for moral support and as THE pom pom girl), and Fr Picx was so enthusiastic he made all his team members do a chapter of reading on team work (my deepest sympathy too all you brothers :P) The groups were aptly named Banana (the group comprising of Sr Miriam, of which they had strong objection from her for obvious reasons), Babyface (errmm…), Fight for Peace (yeah.. of course, the one with Fr Picx), and Spice (need i say more??)

We started off with the favourite of all, basketball! The guys played like they’ve never played before. All the suppressed energy surfaced and stormed through the basketball court. Of course, when so much energy was released and no one knew how to control, unforeseen stuff tends to happen. Half way through the game, our dear Bro RJ made a jumping shot. However, he did not get to land on his feet. He fell on his back and the back of his head ramped straight onto the cement floor, and he passed out immediately.

I suppose everyone was a little shocked, after 5 seconds (where time stood still), all started crowding around him. What came next was an even greater shock for everyone, RJ went into involuntary convulsion, he had a seizure. Many tried to hold him down, some were glued dead on their spot in obvious disbelief and some were screaming for assistance. Luckily, many were quick to response, with no spoon in sight, someone jammed a key into RJ’s mouth to prevented him from biting his tongue. Ryan was seen running to the scene with a spoon and short of a summersault threw the spoon into midair while running as if he was throwing a baseball. Eugene was quick to get a vehicle ready and drove like a madman to the scene, once the vehicle was there, everyone carried him into the van and they sped to the hospital.

A week had passed, and RJ is safely back with us now. He was hospitalized for 3 days, and a CT scan indicated that everything was clear. He is undergoing medication which is giving him coin size ulcers in the mouth, but that aside, he’s perfect and fine. We truly thank God and all the prayers for him, and we vowed to protect this brother of ours with all our might in the future. (No more sports for RJ from now on, or he can only play sports with a helmet and a Michelin suit!)

Following basketball, we decided to play a much milder (or someone might term sissy) game of volleyball. It’s fool proof, nothing can go wrong… so you think!!!

Once again, half way through the game, commotion started at the court. This time, our dear Br John went on a collision course with another brother and got a cut at the eyebrow area above his right eye. There were blood flowing down, tainting his shirt, totally RAMBO style. Everyone rushed to the scene again, Dominic chewed some leaves and put it on the wound to stop the bleeding (thank God for a Quak doctor among us), some guys brought ice and placed it all over John except the location of the wound, probably to test his endurance level rather than helping out the situation. After a few minutes, our dear Prefect Fr Cruz calmly walked to the scene all cool and steady with cotton buds and medicine to stop the bleeding. Now there’s a man who have seen it all.

Well, the cut was pretty deep so John had to be sent to the hospital for stitches. He got 4 wonderful stitches and 2 gigantic anti-tetanous shots each on his left and right arm, making him look like a guy all ready for WWF.

Anyway, I guess he’s fine now, and he will have his marks for a while to tell to everyone the great story where he conquered all and saved the day.

So, we still have 3 more sports matches to go. We have 2 options, either we prepare a full medical team all ready with stretchers and oxygen tank to standby during the game, or we can change the games to chess and videogames. Oh wait, there’s a third option, we can just pray real hard and stay 3 feet away from the ball during the game. I think that will work :P

Man with sports… IT’S SO FUN!


Monday, September 21, 2009


The US open was over about weeks ago, but its spirit is still heating among some of our students. Some were unhappy to see Federer dethroned by young Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro, but some were so pleased. Anyway we cannot do anything about it just wait for next year.

A good (tennis) spirit inspired few students and said “Why don’t we have our own tournament?” All the tennis player students nodded at the same and said “Yes.” Finally we have decided to have our own and really first tennis tournament among the SATMI students.

This tournament is called “SATMI OPEN” consisting of 8 players: Bird, Boy, Ole, Joe, Bank, Jong, Raymond, and Fr Cruz. The draw (pictured) was taken on Friday, September 18. The games will be in three rounds; hopefully we will come up with ranking at the end. If you want to know who will be the top or the lower rank please catch up with the next update on SATMI OPEN. Thank you!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ultimate Eating Machine

Eating normally is not really much fun, so we decided to eat more creatively. I really don't have to say much, the videos show it all...

Hmm... maybe we should up our difficulty soon, what next? rice? eggs? banana? maybe a Lechon Baboy??

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Party Deja Vu?

If you feel like you have just seen a party recently in our blog, well, here in our Redemptorist Davao community we really never run out of parties. And this evening we had another party organized by our friends and benefactors, the sentennial group, on the occasion of the vocation month and the year for priests. What more, “a hat party” was the theme for the night which means that everyone was supposed to wear some kind of a hat going to the party. Some came with a more cultural and national style. Others, like Fr. Picx and his disciples, had their own built in helmet. However, there was one person who could not make a difference between a hat and a bag. I did appreciate his creativity, though.

As usual, different varieties of food were served on the table. And as soon as the prayer was said, we began rushing to the food table and did what we do best. During the meal we had a little game with quizzes from Sr. Miriam and the seniors on scripture and theology. Well, I think most of answers were coming from the lay people not the seminarians. Then the sentennial group sang a song for us. On our part we also had a special number from the students presented by Rnel, RJ, Mayt, and Efrem, featuring Terence, our human mic stand. Good job guys.

At the end of the party the sentennial group, aside from the sumptuous meal we had had, generously prepared small gifts for all of us. I got a very nice pair of socks ^ ^ On behalf of the community I would like to extand my deepest gratitude to your kindness and support that you have always had for us, the Redemptorists. We promise that we will remember you in our prayer always. And if there is something else aside from prayer that we can be of your service (I’m sure there is) just let us know.

Lastly, perhaps the only thing that was not so pleasant for me in this party was that I was one of the dishwashers!