Celebrating St. Valentine’s day by going to a Traditional Latin Mass in Sikatuna, Quezon City

Today, Feb 14,  is the Feast of St. Valentine, and I celebrated it by going to a Traditional Latin Mass in Our Parish of Our Lord of Divine Mercy in Sikatuna, Q.C.  A year ago, on Feb 16,  my friend and I also went here for a Sunday mass. I can still remember her veil.  Time flies fast.  She is now with the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate in Cebu for her Aspirancy.  Fr. Dan McNamara, S.J., my friend’s confessor and my thesis adviser, chided me that it is already my time to join him for a 10-day retreat this March in Baguio, just as my friend had done.  I’ll see if my schedule allows.

My  Baronius missal is actually my friend’s missal which she bought in Our Lady of Victories (SSPX) church in Cubao.  Of all the things that she has given me, the missal is my dearest treasure.  The prayers before and after the mass helps me focus more on the Eucharist, and helps me to be more thankful for the divine condescension.  I could not yet regularly pray the morning and evening prayers, but I try my best to make them since the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus and that of our Lady increases ones love to our Lord and Lady.  I always use my missal even in Novus Ordo masses.  After about four and a half months of using this missal, I can now read and understand the mass and the devotions in Latin.  I read the Epistle and the Gospel in Latin and I am surprised that my reading comprehension has increased.  Maybe it is because I am familiar with Scriptures so I can easily guess the meanings of the Latin words.  I also studied some Latin before by reading a textbook meant for Grade 1 Latin.  I only finished one-fourth of it, then I gave up.  I wonder what St. Ignatius must have felt when he studied Latin with little boys.  Humility is the foundation of knowledge.

After the mass, I saw Carlos Palad on the choir loft.  I went up to him.  And there I met Jesson who introduced me to Junar, a member of the ALMS Yahoo group,  and Dennis Maturan, the founding chairman of Ecclesia Dei Society of St. Joseph.  He is also an associate member of the Ateneo Latin Mass Society.  Dennis is the acolyte who chants the Epistle.  He chants well.  I also met Shirley Monreal, whose name I only read in the apologia-ph Yahoo group.

We went down and waited for Fr. Jojo to finish blessing some statues and other sacred objects.

Carlos Palad was holding two cds.  He told me he downloaded the Orthodox Rite for the Liturgy.  He loves this liturgy with  eight sacristans doing the censers.  He was able to download this before but his house was flooded during Typhoon Ondoy and his cds were destroyed.

We went to the back of the church.  I met there Nathalie and others whose name I cannot anymore recall.  I also met there Rommel Mendoza (?) who graduated Physics-CE in Ateneo de Manila University, batch ’89.  I am B.S. Physics batch 97.  We were not able to talk much since Fr. Jojo Zerrudo already came out of the sacristy.  And it is him whom I wanted to talk to about some matters.

Fr. Jojo and I talked in one of the rooms facing the sacristy, across a basketball court.  We shared experiences on the formation of the Latin Mass Society.  He told me that for eight years in Masambong, he only had Dennis Maturan.  Now, he has Gerard Cenir as his Liturgical Master of Ceremonies and he has a full sacristan group.  Fr. Jojo told me that I can ask Gerard to help train the ALMS sacristans.  Fr. Jojo’s choir is from U.P and many of them are members of the U.P. School of Music. The Traditional Latin mass in Sikatuna is indeed blessed.

Fr. Jojo advised me not to make much noise in Ateneo, to start the Traditional Latin Mass not with a bang but with a whimper.  I told him I still have to write to the Director of the Manila Observatory, who shall forward my letter to the Father Provincial, because there is no more Jesuit Community at the Manila Observatory.  I am still taking my time, crafting my thoughts, and praying for the right words to write to the Director.  Fr. Jojo told me that he prefers that ALMS start at the Observatory; the Oratory of St. Ignatius is too close to the Jesuits of the Loyola House of Studies.  The ALMS may crack under pressure.

I thanked Fr. Jojo for his advice and we parted.

Going to an ordinary English mass with an extraordinary Latin-English missal

Since my friend bequeathed to me her Baronius 1962 missal last October, I always bring it with me whenever I go to mass–even to to an ordinary form of the Roman Rite.  I would usually go to the church 15 minutes before the start of the mass.  Then I will read the Devotions Before Communion such as those of St. Ambrose and St. Thomas Aquinas.  After this, I would read the Psalms in Preparation for the Holy Mass: Psalms 83, 84, 85, 115, and 129.

During the entrance song, I read the Asperges–I now understand it in Latin.   I follow the ordinary of the mass in English.  During Sundays, the Confiteor is similar.  I skip the Introit.  The Kyrie is the same and the Gloria.  I skip the Collects and Epistle and listen to the Readings.  I read the Gradual and listen to the Gospel.  I read the Credo–it is possible to recite the Apostle’s Creed and silently read the Nicene Creed at the same time.  If there is enough time, I read the Incensing of the Offerings, Psalm 62 for the Washing of the Hands, and the Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity.  The Orate Fratres is similar to that of the New Mass.  I listen to the priest saying the Secret.  For the Preface, I go to the Proper Prefaces and read the pertinent ones–usually those for the Common, Holy Trinity, and the Blessed Virgin.  I read the Sanctus in Latin–it is straightforward.

Now, the order of the mass gets mixed up.  I skip the Prayers before the Consecration and go immediately to the Prayers at the Consecration.  Then I go to the Prayers Before Consecration and jump again to the Prayers after Consecration.  I read the Pater Noster–I already know how to pray the rosary in Latin.  I read the Libera Nos.  Then I jump to to the Prayers for Peace before going back to Agnus Dei.  I read the Prayers at Communion.

I go back to the Prayers before Communion: the prayers of St. Ambrose and St. Augustine.  Then I line up for the Communion.  I do not anymore respond “Amen” when the priest says “Body of Christ” because it becomes awkward: are we not sure that the consecrated host is indeed the Body of Christ?  (Now, I changed my mind: to be faithful to the New Missal, I shall say “Amen” because it is the prescribed response.)  In the extraordinary rite, you do not answer the priest when he says, “The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy soul unto life everlasting.  Amen.”

After Communion, I go back to my kneeler and pray the Prayers after Communion–those of Sts. Aquinas, Bonaventure, and Augustine.  This would just be sufficient before the priest reads the Post-Communion verse, gives the Dismal, and the Blessing.  During the exit hymn, I read the Last Gospel, Salve Regina, and Prayer for the Queen–the words are Elizabeth but in my mind are the King and Queen of Spain.  I still haven’t thought of our President and our government officials here–maybe I should.  If most of the parishioners are out of the Church, I go to the Adoration Chapel and read the Canticle of Daniel–I understand it now in Latin.  Then I go to Psalm 150, the Prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to St. Joseph.  The succeeding prayers I read are the Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Anima Christi, “I beseech Thee”, “En ego, o bene”, and the Memore.  These prayers after the mass usually take 15 to 20 minutes.

I feel that my use of the Baronius 1962 missal has increased my devotion for the Holy Mass even if it is in it ordinary form and even if I read mostly the English translations.  There is a spirituality in the old mass that excites devotion to the Holy Eucharist.  And reading a missal helps me focus on the mass.  I am still a visual person.  I prefer to read scripts even of movies and plays to understand them better.  I like spoilers because they allow me to see whether the storyline builds up to the climax or not.  And reading a missal helps me fully understand what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass truly is–the Sacrifice of Christ in Calvary.

Update 12/14/2009: I shall experiment using the New Missal for a month and reserve the Old Missal for the devotions before and after communion.

Baronius 1962 Missal Sold at Totus Bookstore in Greenhills, San Juan, Philippines

My friend and I visited the Totus bookstore in the corner of Connecticut and Missouri Sts. in Greenhills, San Juan.  Their website says the bookstore is on the second corner of the Red Ribbon Building.  But we see no red ribbons, only blue letters (was it Abenson?).

We went up through a narrow stairway and entered the bookstore.  The bookstore was small, about 5 steps by 15 steps.  But on its shelf of books are those of Ratzinger and Chesterton.  And we say, “Ooooh” and “Aaaaah.”  If I had money, I could have bought them all.  It is window shopping for now.

We came there not for Ratzinger or for Chesterton but for a weekday missal.  My friend needs one, as she likes to go to mass everyday at the college chapel (and I usually accompany her).   It’s a Vatican II missal in red cover.  She flipped some pages and explained that the Sunday readings have a three year cycle and the week day reading have a two-year cycle.  So after three years of attending mass, we would have heard most of the bible.

The sales lady overheard us.   She said that is one of their last stocks.  A new Vatican II missal is coming probably next year.  I have heard about this, since ICEL (those responsible for translating the bible into English) have adopted a mode of translation which is closer to the Latin original.  So instead of “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say a word and I shall be healed,” it would now sound like the Centurion speaking, “Lord, I am not worthy that you come under my roof, but only say a word and my soul [servant] shall be heard.”  But this is already the Ilonggo translation in Negros (Central Philippines), in my hometown in Bacolod City, for we say, “Ginoo, dili ako angay na magsulod ka sa akon puluy-an, apang imitlang lang ang imo pulong kag maga-ayo ang akon kalag.”  In this respect, the Ilonggo translators have already been more faithful to the Latin original even decades ago.

And we saw the 1962 missal.  Baronius in white leather cover.  Bigger than my palm and thicker than my three fingers.  I wish to buy it.  But it is expensive: P 2800.  The black book cover with zipper is P 1050.  That makes it a total of about P 4000.  My friend also wishes to buy it.  But since she may be given that missal by October, she can settle for the Vatican II missal for now.  That is far cheaper anyway at P 1200.

We said goodbye to the sales lady.  As a parting gift, she gave us a catalogue for Ignatius press and Tan books.  Impressive.  Totus bookstore has lived up to its name.  It has everything a good Catholic should read.