Tridentine Mass at Divine Mercy Church in Sikatuna, Quezon City
February 18, 2009 13 Comments
Last Sunday, my friend and I decided to hear a Tridentine mass at the Divine Mercy Church in Sikatuna, Quezon City. It was more than an hour of travel for both of us: she came from Novaliches; I came from Makati. We met at the St. Joseph’s Shrine in the corner of Anonas Street and Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City.
I waited for her at the church’s basement in the Adoration Chapel, where people sat on the benches or knelt at the pews to pray. After kneeling for a few minutes in prayer, I sat on the last row gazing at the Blessed Sacrament behind glass walls. On my left are some statues. The one closest is the Statue of The Sacred Heart of Jesus beside the portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Behind the statues is a glass wall separating us from people outside standing silently in prayer before rows of lighted candles. One person limped forward with a cane. Another left with head bowed in grief. I closed my eyes.
I felt a tap on my shoulder. “You have slept,” a voice said.
I opened my eyes. It was my friend. Maybe I really slept. She knelt down to pray.
“Did you bring your beautiful veil,” I asked her when we left the chapel.
“No, it is too big,” she said. “I found something smaller.”
And she showed me a laced veil large enough to cover her head and shoulders. Her white veil matched her white dress. Had she not put on her knitted, gray sweater, she would look like a girl dressed for her first communion. Or a woman for her wedding.
We rode a tricycle at Anonas Street and stopped at a corner leading to the church. The Divine Mercy church stands blue and gray amidst a road strewn with stone barrels and rock fragments. I ditch is being dug. I paid the P 30.00 fare and we got off.
We entered the church. We dipped our fingers into the holy water font held by an angel and made the sign of the cross with bent knees. Most of the women wore veils. So my friend wore hers. We found an empty pew on the right side in front of the tabernacle and beside the statue of Pope St. Gregory the Great. We sat.
I gazed around. Many used missals. Others even have missals with Gregorian chant musical neumes–those little square boxes drawn rising and falling against four horizontal lines to indicate the pitch and duration of chant syllables. I forgot to bring the 17-page missal I downloaded from the internet. I used it a year ago when I tried my first Tridentine mass. I loved this mass, though this is only my third time, for it is too far from my parish. But I am glad that this time I brought a friend.
The mass began. The priest wore purple chasuble with white laces. The four old sacristans wore black with white laces; the four little ones (barely four years old) wore red with white laces. At the stomp of the feet from a senior sacristan, these little ones would kneel or walk while carrying the candles. They are too young to be boy scouts, yet these little boys are liturgically precise. They are serious.
The readings were read by the deacon and the gospel were read by a priest. Then the priest reads both the readings and the Gospel in English.
I self-studied some basic Latin and could understand the Latin sentences in my missal when I read them by sight. But since I have no missal, I could hardly catch the priest’s words. But I know now a few since the priest keeps repeating them:
“Dominus vobiscum,” the priest said.
“Et cum espiritu tuo,” the congregation responded.
“Per omnia saecula saeculorum,” the priest said.
I closed my eyes when I smelled the waft of incense. I closed my eyes when I heard the choir sing the chants of angels. I closed my eyes when the priest raised the body and blood of Christ. I wish to see, smell, and hear these beautiful things more clearly and savor them while they last. I closed my eyes.
When the mass ended, the sacristan passed us by while he rang the little bells. One note resonated in my ears that it seemed prolonged to eternity. I closed my eyes. This is heaven.
If I were to be married someday, I would wish it to be in this mass.
Note: The Tridentine Mass in Philippines in general and in the Divine Mercy Church in particular is described by Gerald in his prodeoetpatria blog.