Fr. Bob Buenconsejo, S.J.: “Dominus vobiscum!”

Last night, after a quick supper, I was walking along Katipunan, trying to relax my eyes and hands after long hours of computer work. I was near the footbridge near National Bookstore when someone spoke in front of me.

“Dominus vobiscum!” The voice said.

I should have answered, “Et cum Spirtu tuo,” but I was tongue-tied. I tried to see who it was. The man was looking at me smiling.

“Oh, Fr. Bob,” I said. It was Fr. Bob Buenconsejo, the College Campus Minister of the Ateneo de Manila University. I smiled back.

He was about to pass by when a thought occurred to me. “Father,” I said. “I heard, Father, that you are not anymore the campus minister of the college.”

“That’s true,” Fr. Bob said. “It is now Fr. Lester Maramara”

We shook hands and said goodbye.

Nikko Vitug and I went to Fr. Bob once to consult him on the possibility of having the Traditional Latin Mass in the college chapel. He said he is open to the possibility, though he is for the gradual introduction of it, so that we won’t shock other people. Fr. Tim Ofrasio, S.J., however, is not comfortable with the chapel’s modern design. And besides, the space in front of the altar is too small: the priest has no room to move there. So we were not able to have mass at the college chapel.

Our last resort then was the Manila Observatory chapel, but the mass was canceled last February, because the Board of the Trustees then has to decide on the future of the chapel, now that the Jesuit community is gone from the Observatory. The chapel needs a priest to guard the Blessed Sacrament against profane hands.

Last week, I visited the chapel. The sun sets red in the west but the red light in the Blessed Sacrament is off. I wonder if they have removed the consecrated hosts, for Fr. Dan McNamara said that because there is no more Jesuit community, most likely the chapel will cease to exist. But he is still consulting a canon lawyer on this. I knelt before the Tabernacle and took a small cloth to open the ciborium, careful not to touch the sacred vessel with my own bare hands. There are about three pieces of host left after last month’s mass. I think they are consecrated. I turned on the red lamp and prayed the rosary.

It has been a long time since I prayed the rosary. Maybe months. I have been working hard, even going home nearly midnight. I asked our TLM group to pray the rosary for the introduction of the Latin Mass in Ateneo, but I think I am not doing enough praying myself: short morning and evening prayers, Angelus at 12 and 6, the 3’oclock habit, and a short visit to our chapel (not at the observatory) to start the day. I haven’t knocked the doors of heaven enough.

Please pray for me and for the Ateneo Latin Mass Society. R. R. Raneses, Nikko Vitug, and I will try to meet next week to discuss the future of the ALMS.

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

14 Responses to Fr. Bob Buenconsejo, S.J.: “Dominus vobiscum!”

  1. Japs says:

    Your group will surely succeed. My prayers for ALMS.

    “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast and unmoveable; always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58

  2. Fr. Bob is right being for a gradual introduction of the Latin Mass. Although from the looks of it he’s not that eager. Changes made by Vatican II in coming up with and adopting the current Mass will then be a waste of time and effort. The purpose of which is to enable the faithful to participate more fully in the Celebration of the Eucharist. The Liturgy in the vernacular. The priest celebrant facing the people together as a community in prayer and thanksgiving.
    Again it is solely in the spirit of reconciliation and ecumenism that Pope Benedict XVI had expressed his desire for the promotion of the Latin Mass aside from the need to control some who were too liberal in their handling of the current Mass. And strict conditions have to be followed to celebrate it.

  3. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:


    I am contented with the Novus Ordo mass as long as the priest doesn’t paraphrase the texts and adds his own. The current translation is not very faithful to the original Latin. A more dignified and literal translation will be out next year. Full participation of the faithful is also possible in the old mass because of the missals. There are even missals for little boys with pictures and explanations of what is going on and Pope Benedict XVI had one in his childhood.

    The priest and the faithful facing together in the same direction of the Liturgical East emphasizes the sacerdotal priesthood: the priest intercedes in behalf of the people. This is illustrated in the intercessory powers of Aaron as High Priest during the rebellion of Korah:

    The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, “It is you who have slain the LORD’S people.”7 But while the community was deliberating against them, Moses and Aaron turned toward the meeting tent, and the cloud now covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared.8 Then Moses and Aaron came to the front of the meeting tent,9 and the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,10 “Depart from this community, that I may consume them at once.” But they fell prostrate.11 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, put fire from the altar in it, lay incense on it, and bring it quickly to the community to make atonement for them; for wrath has come forth from the LORD and the blow is falling.”12 Obeying the orders of Moses, Aaron took his censer and ran in among the community, where the blow was already falling on the people. Then, as he offered the incense and made atonement for the people,13 standing there between the living and the dead, the scourge was checked. (Num 17:6-13)

    Notice that Aaron turns towards the tent of the meeting to talk to God. In Latin, the tent is called a “tabernaculum”. Thus, in the Mass, when the priest talks to God, it is proper that he faces the Tabernacle at the center of the altar where the Blessed Sacrament is kept, which is the Real Presence of Christ on Earth, true God, true Man. When the priest talks to the people, he turns to them, such as when he says “Orate fratres…” or “Pray my brothers…” This distinction is lost in the New Mass.

    By the way, the rebellion of Korah is the rebellion of the laity who wants to appropriate for themselves the function of the sacerdotal priesthood:

    1 Korah, son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, (and Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, son of Pallu, son of Reuben) took 2 two hundred and fifty Israelites who were leaders in the community, members of the council and men of note. They stood before Moses,3 and held an assembly against Moses and Aaron, to whom they said, “Enough from you! The whole community, all of them, are holy; the LORD is in their midst. Why then should you set yourselves over the LORD’S congregation?” (Num 16:1-3)

    Moses also said to Korah, “Listen to me, you Levites!9 Is it too little for you that the God of Israel has singled you out from the community of Israel, to have you draw near him for the service of the LORD’S Dwelling and to stand before the community to minister for them?10 He has allowed you and your kinsmen, the descendants of Levi, to approach him, and yet you now seek the priesthood too.11 It is therefore against the LORD that you and all your band are conspiring. For what has Aaron done that you should grumble against him?”

  4. On the rebellion of Korah, do you say that people who are into the changes made by Vatican II was in opposition to God’s…? Surely the Council Fathers took that into consideration. and I for one am not “grumbling” either. From what I understand, this interceding on behalf of the people by the celebrant is intricately interwoven in the present mass, in the offertory, in the consecration. The priest together with the faithful gathering and walking as a community, forever praising and in adoration of the one God. The church as a nation freed from slavery towards the Promise Land.
    Already many have left or are leaving the Church for some other denominations. Most especially young people in spite of the changes made by it. What more if all Masses reverted to Latin? I myself am fortunate enough to have been exposed to it in school a long time ago. Even found it more uplifting when I was allowed by the Trappist monks to join in their daily activities a few times before. But what about the others, about the man in the street, about people in impoverished areas, etc.
    Latin Mass anyhow are still being celebrated. There are special occasions for it. It was never forbidden. The Church for that matter is dynamic, it always progresses. If only those who have left our Church, for one reason or another, reflected on this things may be different.
    What I’ve heard is that the Holy See will be coming out with a new missal in place of the old one that has been in use for the last 40 years since the Council of Trent. What I am not sure of is if this will be in Traditional Latin…
    Anyway, thank you for the response. Still I find your blog very helpful and interesting.

  5. Wants To Be Anonymous says:

    My friend, I understand that words can be quite misleading. Many times what we intend to say cannot be fully expressed by what we can say.

    The way you said things above, I feel that I must remind you that part 2, section 2, chapter 1, article 3 of the Catechism reminds us all that

    “1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.” “

  6. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:


    Through our Baptism, we share the priesthood of Christ. But this is not equivalent to the ministerial priesthood of priests and bishops:

    “While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace–a life of faith, hope and charity, a life according to the Spirit, the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. The ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Churc. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.” (Catechism Art. 1547)

    Because of the modern tendency to blur the distinction between the common and ministerial priesthoods, such as the liturgical abuse of having non-ordained give a homily during mass, Pope John Paul II published an Instruction: “ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS REGARDING THE COLLABORATION OF THE NON-ORDAINED FAITHFUL IN THE SACRED MINISTRY OF PRIEST”. You may read the full text here:

    Maybe there is something in Latin in general and in the Traditional Latin Mass in particular. Forty years ago, before they replaced the Old Latin Mass with the New (Latin) Mass (usually translated in vernacular), the Jesuits numbers peaked at 40,000 and the Catholic attendance rate is about 90 percent. After they changed the mass, the number of Jesuits dwindled to less than 20,000 today and the mass attendance barely reaches 5 percent in modern France, the Eldest Daughter of the Church.

    Correction: What will come out next year is a more literal translation of the Novus Ordo Mass or the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite that we are familiar with. The Novus Ordo Mass of Pope Paul VI replaced the Traditional Latin Mass which was codified in the Council of Trent and celebrated until 1967. The revised missal is available in the USCCB website: You will notice certain things like: The response to “The Lord be with you” is “And with your spirit”, “cup” is now a “chalice”, and “East to West” becomes “from the rising of the sun to its setting”. There are still more changes which are literal translations of the original Latin.

  7. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    Wants To,

    Concerning the Eucharist, thank you for quoting the Catechism to remind us of the Dogma of Real Presence and Transubstantiation.

  8. Brother,
    I understand that there is really a difference between a ministerial and common priesthood. Quoting from Catechism helped a lot. Now I wished I had not given away that book several years ago.
    I have yet to see a non-ordained give a homily in a church. But I think I’ve seen one, in one of the small gatherings I had attended and with the expressed permission of the celebrant. Might have been a bishop too. Not so sure though.
    Regarding the dwindling attendance rate of Catholics, it can also be due to the emphasis given before about the efficacy of the sacrament.. Modern man relies more on what can be proven or what can be readily seen and touched. He had come to believe more on other truths than that of a religious truth. So all these Dogmas on Real Presence, on Transubstantiation, on the Trinity, on the Immaculate Conception will be just as meaningless. Eventually he goes to Sunday Masses just to fulfill an obligation. And maybe have the children baptized for convenience. He then would have no second thought of say initiating a move to oust a priest out of his parish or even sue one in court for a petty thing. Which brings me to ask- what your opinions are on the attacks being made today against the Pope by some quarters.
    Changes were made to sort of counter this. The sacrament now becomes more of a sign. The Church becomes a sign. The priest says “The peace of the Lord be with you.” The people responding ” And may the peace be with you also” And all of them to each other gives the sign of peace. And hopefully modern man may see this and say ” Look they are in communion. They are loving one another!” He now becomes renewed and would realized the Real Presence of Christ in the Host.

  9. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:


    The present attacks on the Pope reminds me of the vision of St. John Bosco of the Two Columns:

    Sacraments are more than signs:

    “Sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.” (Catechism Art. 1131)

  10. Jimijane says:

    I am so excited about ALMS having the True Tridentine Mass. But I am just curious about using the 1962 Daily Mass for the laity. I have attended a traditional Latin Mass in Europe celebrated by a French bishop but we’re using the 1945 St. Andrew’s Daily Missal which contains the uncorrupted texts of the mass. We were just a very very tiny underground group assisting the daily Holy Mass. We’re not allowed to receive communion unless we are in proper ankle-length dress code with veil on our heads in bended knees and receiving the body of Christ directly to our mouth from the consecrated hands of our bishop at the communion rail.
    Is it the same Holy Mass that I am expecting if I attend ALMS Tridentine Mass? Can I please ask your schedule of the Holy Masses in June,2010. I live in the province but I would love to attend your mass.
    I went home from Europe for good here in the Philippines 2 years ago. I am looking for the true Latin Mass and never have a chance. I am really shocked to find out how our Novus Ordo altars looked like. No more tabernacles in the middle of the altars even the crucifixes are gone. Sometimes I see some crucifixes but they are the “broken legs” which was initiated by Pope Paul VI continued by JPII and now Benedict XVI.
    Now I believe that we’re not only living in the end times but in borrowed times because there are still small groups praying with intercession of our Blessed Mother who said “Rome has lost its faith and will be the seat of the Anti-Christ.”
    I am praying that ALMs succeed in the celebration of the true Tridentine Latin Mass. Thank you very much for the chance to say these things.

  11. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:


    Let us obey church law and use 1962 missal. It is the one prescribed by Pope Benedict XVI for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.

  12. Jimijane says:

    There are several texts that were changed/altered in the 1962 Roman Rite Mass like ” The Confiteor” in which the names of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Michael, St. John , the Baptist, Sts. Peter and Paul all were deleted to mention a few. Also, the priest facing the people and not the tabernacle is a big difference from the traditional Tridentine Latin mass that the true essence of the sacrifice of the mass is not validly celebrated. The Novus Ordo or the 1962 Roman Rite is a master piece of the Protestant/Freemason Bugnini to destroy the true Roman Catholic and Apostolic church.

  13. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:



    The !962 Roman missal of Pope John XXIII is for the Tridentine Mass also known as the Traditional Latin Mass or the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. There is not much difference from the 1945 missal, except perhaps the inclusion of St. Joseph in the prayers.

    The 1970 Roman missla of Pope Paul VI is for the Novus Ordo Mass also known as the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Cardinal Bugnini has hand in drafting this mass.

  14. Julian James says:

    How exciting to think about the Latin mass being celebrated for us at the university.

    Then we could go back about 40 years and allow the priest to put us laity back in our places and we could just feel nice inside and not relate much to the world around us… and I just get excited even thinking about it!

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