(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.