Conversations with Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, S.J.: Traditional Latin Mass, Religious Life, and Sodality of Our Lady

I.  Traditional Latin Mass

Yesterday, we had a supper with Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, S.J. ; he left for Davao City today.  With me are Genie and Dr. Celine Vicente from the Observatory.  There are three others more from the Companions on a Journey, a group who organizes retreats at the Ateneo.  Beside me is Fr. Dan.

“Father”, I said.  “Fr. Tim Ofrasio is having a check up this week for his allergies.  He asked me to contact him again next week, so that we can schedule a general assembly for the Ateneo Latin Mass Society.  We already have 24 members.”

“There are also other Jesuits getting sick.”  He mentioned two names.  They are not familiar to me.

“A general assembly?” Gwen asked.  “Why don’t you meet as a core group first?”

“A general assembly,” I said and nodded my head.  Many already sent me their schedules; I just need to find a common time when I get Fr. Tim’s schedule.

“You may find it hard to find a chapel that is suited for the Latin Mass,” Fr. Dan said.

I told him that MO chapel is fine, because the altar is movable to the wall.  There is an large old altar at the back of the chapel.  We can use that.

He agreed.

II.  Religious Life

Fr. Dan and Anna’s order came.  Fr. Dan has his favorite plate-size pancake and green mango shake.  They started to eat.

“So how is your friend in Cebu,” Fr. Dan asked me.

“Her mom texted me that she was able to call her at the convent.  She said Roxanne was happy and well there.”

“I am surprised he mom was permitted to call.”  Fr. Dan said.  “Normally they don’t allow communications for two years.”

“I am also more surprised that her mom sounds supportive of her.  Her mom was not really happy even the night before Roxanne entered.”

“That is really what mothers do when they see that their children are firm in their decision to enter.”

Our orders arrived.  Mine is pork tocino, rice, and egg fried sunny-side up.  I sliced the liquid yolk and mixed it with my rice.  This is the only thing I ordered whenever we come to this same restaurant for dinner with Fr. Dan.

“The Jesuits will now change the vocation promotions directors in schools  from Jesuit brothers to priests,”  Fr. Dan said.  “It is realized that a priest is a better judge of vocations.  He can also hear students’ confessions, which a Jesuit brother cannot do.”

“We also need priests in organizations, Father,” Gwen said.  “The ACIL (Ateneo Catechetical Instruction League) is still looking for a Jesuit priest moderator.  They were given a Korean and an Indian.  But they have language difficulties.”

III.  Sodality of Our Lady

Ma’m Celine’s and Gwen’s orders arrived.  I already finished my food.  And so is Fr. Dan and Anna.  Geniee is still eating her pancakes poured with honey.

Raqs arrived.  She is a member of the Companions.

Genie (or was it Gwen still) said: “The students in Ateneo do not anymore join the socially oriented orgs.  (Religious orgs are classified as socially oriented orgs in Ateneo).  They prefer to go to parties.  That is why many go to business and management orgs.”

I turned to Fr. Dan.  “Father,” I said.  “Maybe it is time to revive the Sodality of Our Lady.”

I saw a quizzical look on their faces.  So I said to them: “The Sodality used to be the largest organization in Ateneo.  You can never be a President of the Student Council if you are not a member of the Sodality of Our Lady.”

“That’s the Christian Life Community,” Raqs said.

But I told her that the Sodality and the CLC have different spiritualities: the CLC is more socially oriented; the Sodality has a stronger Marian character.

“Yes, that’s true,” Fr. Dan said.

Raqs said that she joined the CLC.  She is now an observer.  There are three levels: observer, then two more.  She was glad that I mentioned the Sodality.  She will ask about it.

When I finally get the Ateneo Latin Mass Society going smoothly, I shall work for the revival of the Sodality of Our Lady in Ateneo de Manila University.  As Fr. Z always say: “Brick by brick.”

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

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