National Meeting of Filipino Diocesan Directors of Liturgy: liturgical inculturation and women lay ministers


September 13-16, 2010


We, the delegates to the 25th National Meeting of Diocesan Directors of Liturgy (NMDDL), raise our hearts and voices in thanksgiving to Jesus Christ, the Leitourgos of divine worship. For twenty-five years, NMDDL has been a consistent instrument of the continuing liturgical formation of diocesan directors of liturgy. It has created closer ties among the directors and has promoted better coordination between the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy and the diocesan commissions in the implementation of the liturgical reform of Vatican II.

As we look back with gratitude at what NMDDL has accomplished, we look forward to what remains to be done so that the liturgy will become more vibrantly the source and summit of the Church’s life in the Philippines. Hence, we recommend attention in the future meetings to topics like the following:

  1. The Use of the Vernacular. While we respect the option to use Latin and celebrate the Tridentine liturgy, we uphold the use of the vernacular in our parishes and communities and recommend translations that faithfully reflect both the spiritual doctrine of the texts and the linguistic patterns of our vernacular languages.
  2. Spirituality of Liturgy. Active participation is one of the many blessings Vatican II has bestowed on our parishes and communities. We wish to remind ourselves, however, that active participation should lead to deeper spiritual encounter with Christ and the Church. Hence our liturgical celebrations should foster the necessary environment of prayer and awe in the presence of the divine mysteries, excluding those expressions that trivialize the sacred celebration.
  3. Liturgical Inculturation. The interest in recent times to revive the Tridentine Liturgy should not draw the attention, especially of the Church leaders, from the unfinished agenda of liturgical inculturation. We are of the persuasion that liturgical renewal, as envisioned by the Constitution on Liturgy of Vatican II, entails liturgical inculturation and that our rich cultural heritage has much to offer to make the Roman liturgy truly Filipino.
  4. Liturgical Studies. Sound tradition and legitimate progress are key phrases that express the program of liturgical reform. It is consequently necessary to study the history and theology of the liturgy, be familiar with culture, and be imbued with liturgical spirituality and pastoral zeal for the Church. We, therefore, recommend that those involved in liturgy, particularly the clergy, should be sent by their bishops or superiors to enroll in academic institutions that specialize in liturgical studies.
  5. Lay Ministers. Our parishes and communities are blessed with numerous and worthy lay liturgical ministers. However, some dioceses in the Philippines still reserve to male persons ministries like serving at the altar and leading Sunday celebrations in the absence of a priest. We believe that we should encourage the ministry of women where it is allowed by universal law.
  1. Liturgy Newsletter. Part of continuing liturgical formation of diocesan directors and their collaborators is liturgical information. We request the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy to publish and disseminate regularly through newsletter, in print or by electronic media, recent liturgical norms, guidelines, and other pertinent information on the liturgy.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of NMDDL, we recall the visionary initiative of Archbishop Jesus Dosado who, together with Fr. Camilo Marivoet, CICM, and Fr. James Meehan, SJ, established and promoted the annual meeting. We are in their debt. Likewise,  we remember with gratitude the dioceses that have generously hosted NMDDL and the speakers that shared their liturgical expertise with us. Lastly, we thank His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales of the Archdiocese of Manila for hosting NMDDL at this significant year of its existence.

That in all things God may be glorified!


Here are my comments:

  1. Filipinos are Latin-Rite Catholics and they have heard Latin mass for three centuries.  Latin, therefore,  is a legitimate part of the Filipino culture.  So this language must be equally promoted at least together with other languages.
  2. I like the statement “liturgical celebrations should foster the necessary environment of prayer and awe in the presence of the divine mysteries, excluding those expressions that trivialize the sacred celebration.”
  3. I think the best place for inculturation is not in the mass but in the celebrations outside the mass: Pasyon, salubong, procession, novenas, etc.  Our ancestors have done this kind of inculturation before.
  4. Instead of the phrases “sound tradition” and “legitimate progress”, I would prefer the battle cry of the religious clergy who were assigned here in the 16th century: “Let there be no innovations!”  We preserve the Roman liturgy (1962) and send the clergy to schools where the Roman liturgy is studied in fidelity to Catholic tradition in order to progress in their understanding of the liturgy–a liturgy handed down to us to preserve and cherish and not a liturgy that we can mold according to our image and likeness as Filipinos.
  5. Lay ministers and altar servers should be reserved to men.  Once we allow women to distribute the Body of Christ, we would be conditioning their minds that years from now they would also become priests who will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass–which will never happen.

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

11 Responses to National Meeting of Filipino Diocesan Directors of Liturgy: liturgical inculturation and women lay ministers

  1. Bro. BLain says:

    The Comments concerning this was never far from what i’ve just read about how Mother AngeLica fought against women servers and ministers. Because, it is indeed wiLL cause that in the future might see aLatars being Led by women though we are not degrading women. they wiLL aLways have a high dignifying pLace in HoLy Mother the Church. But, i beLieve that preserving tthe tradition onLy to men serving and distributing communion is more reverent and Less confusion. sometimes, a scandaL too. there is one case in a parish where two coupLes where Lay ministers. such a sacriLege! and shouLd not be encouraged or appreciated. i am weak, but if it’s necessary Lessening my sLeep to offer nightLy adoration for reforming the Liturgy. so be it! uniting with those who are doing it faithfuL to the true magisterium and teachings of Vatican II. Ave Maria!

  2. Sasha says:

    What gives? This piece of riveting drivel was written by none other than the master of liturgical “inculturation” Chupungco himself, so no surprises there.

    Chupungco prattles as if the Tridentine Mass is quickly encroaching dioceses and parishes in the Philippines and the Novus Ordo/circus mass consequently being marginalized, when in fact it is the exact opposite. Communities and individuals which express keen interest in experiencing the rich and traditional liturgical heritage that nourished the souls of our forefathers and saints for centuries are persecuted and ostracized.

  3. Sasha Fierce says:

    Talagang Chupungco continues on on his “struggle” against Pope Benedict XVI ano?

    The CBCP, the Archdiocese of Manila (remember that restrictive/impertinent “Guideline” Cardinal Rosales published (and later retracted because he was reprimanded by Cardinal Hoyos, hahahaha) re: the celebration of the Usus Antiquor in our diocese?), Chupungco and Gerardo Diwa (unworthy to be called “Fathers”) nastily stick their tongue out at the Supreme Pontiff while the latter courageously steers the Church into the correct path.

    How strange! Those people who have a fetish for lambasting “traditionalists” ( I hate to use this term: Catholics are Catholics, period! The rest are heretic innovators!) for their so-called “disobedience” now suddenly don’t recognize OBEDIENCE for what it GENUINELY IS.

    I hope Chupungco lives a long life in this vale of tears until after the full restoration of the Church to her pure, unadulterated Tradition and Faith. I would love to see him rip off his cassock and beat his chest, like that Pharisee in The Passion of the Christ after realizing the atrocious crime he has committed against God.

    I am sorry for sounding too combative. Sino ba ang hindi? Looking at the state of disarray the Church of the Philippines is in now, sino ang hindi manggagalaiti (except modernists and liberals)?

  4. L. A. says:

    How narrow-minded and out of touch these traditionalists are. Long live the progressive and liberal forces of the Church! Again and again, it’s about relevance.

  5. Sasha Fierce says:

    “How narrow-minded and out of touch these traditionalists are. Long live the progressive and liberal forces of the Church! Again and again, it’s about relevance.”

    Wow you’re comment brims with a lot of meaningful semantical nuances. NOT. Ahahahaha!

    Sorry LA, the liberals are acting so panicky these days. Like insects and wild beasts sensing a major volcanic eruption, they emerge out of their dark nooks to flee for their dear lives.

    Again and again, modernists and progressives are becoming more and more irrelevant, as exemplified by your vapid comment.

  6. Ben Vallejo says:

    How come no one among them requests for the Permanent Diaconate? Permanent deacons are male and may be married and they can do much more liturgical functions proper to the ordained state.

  7. Carlos Antonio Palad says:

    “How come no one among them requests for the Permanent Diaconate? Permanent deacons are male and may be married and they can do much more liturgical functions proper to the ordained state.”

    Two explanations that I got from PRIESTS:

    1) Permanent deacons will compete with the priests for the precious stipends from blessings, marriages, and baptisms

    2) Ordinations are rapidly collapsing in the Philippines. Archdiocese of Manila had only 2 priestly ordinations this year, both from the Neo-Catechumenal Way. Cubao has had only one priestly ordination in the last 5 years, Caloocan has had only one since 2004, and Novaliches only two since 2003. Given that Filipino priests do not have lifespans as long as those of their European and American brethren there is a very real fear that the Philippines will find itself practically priestless in 2 decades. Having permanent deacons might only worsen things, as many potential seminarians will simply wed and enter the permanent diaconate,

  8. Angelo Perez says:

    But Sir Sugon, the Vatican has allowed women to serve as altar servers right? We see many of them now in our parishes, even in school when we hold institutional masses.

    And also, I have seen nuns (in my elementary school) and female faculty members (now in college) who are distributing Holy Communion.

  9. james ignacio says:

    The version of the Lord’s Prayer in Fr. Anscar J. Chupungco, OSB’s ‘The New English Translation of the Roman Misal: A Catechetical Primer’ uses modern English:
    Our Father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us; do not bring us to the test but deliver us from evil.

    Bishop Soc Villegas uses the English version from which is officially the ICEL’s version:
    Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

  10. Where can I access the documents of the NMDDL? It is not available here in this site. I really need it for my research. Please help. Thank you.Happy Easter!

  11. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:


    Sorry, I don’t know.

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