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.

The Liturgical Year and Inculturation: 13th Asian Liturgy Forum

13th A s I a n L i t u r g y F o r u m (ALF)
South-East Asian Region,
September 16-20, 2009
Bahay Pari, San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex, Edsa, Makati City

We, the delegates to the 13th Asian Liturgy Forum of South-East Asia, met from September 16-19, 2009 to discuss the timely and urgent topic of Liturgical Year and Inculturation. The meeting was held in Bahay-Pari of San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex, Makati City, Philippines, under the auspices of His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila to whom we express profound gratitude. The delegates to the meeting came from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. We are now pleased to share the result of our three-day meeting.

  1. The history of the liturgical year shows that the calendar of feasts has been constantly adjusting itself to political, cultural, and religious environment of local Churches. This should serve as a guiding principle in our work of inculturating the liturgical year.
  2. We note that inculturation normally takes place within the framework of approved liturgical books, whereby the substantial unity of the Roman Rite is preserved. Hence, the inculturation of the liturgical calendar does not result in a totally new calendar that is an alternative to the typical edition of the Roman Rite.
  3. However, we acknowledge that inculturation might not always be sufficient to address certain local needs. We would not preclude the creation of particular liturgical calendars while retaining the register of feasts of the Roman Rite.
  4. Roman traditional liturgical symbols may need to be adjusted in accord with the seasons of the year in the local Church. This would be applicable, for example, to liturgical feasts like Christmas and Easter whose original symbols do not correspond to existing seasons of the year in a particular Church.
  5. Inspired by liturgical history, we recognize the role of local cultural and social traditions in the institution of some liturgical feasts like the Chair of St. Peter in Rome, which originated in the ancestral feast of ancient Rome called parentalia. In accord with liturgical norms, local Churches could institute feasts derived from their traditional and other established practices.
  6. Likewise, the cycle of human work has shaped some liturgical celebrations like Rogation and Ember days. We believe that in the industrial world marked by the rhythm of work and rest, production and consumption, and strikes and negotiations, the Church should similarly establish pertinent liturgical feasts.
  7. In regions where popular pious exercises abound and continue to be meaningful to the faithful the liturgical calendar can be enriched by the integration of popular religious practices with the liturgical feasts.
  8. Sometimes political situations have left their mark on the liturgical calendar as witnessed by the institution of the feasts of Christ the King and St. Joseph the Worker. Local Churches may propose similar feasts to accompany the faithful across political systems.

In conclusion, given that time is relative, that situations are provisional, and that culture and traditions are in constant evolution, the Church should continue to revise, reinvent, and create liturgical feasts that meet the actual needs of the faithful.

That in all things God may be glorified.

Source: Archdiocese of Manila website

NoteMonk’s Hobbit is not happy with these liturgical developments.

Archdiocese of Manila: Pastoral letter on Sunday celebration of the Eucharist

Last June 14, 2009, on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, issued a pastoral letter on the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist entitled, “Without Sunday we cannot live.” The full letter is 36 pages long (see pdf), divided into three parts.   I shall provide excerpts of the bullet points in the document, for they address many familiar liturgical issues (and problems) in the celebration of the New Mass in the Philippines:

I.  The Liturgical Assembly: “The Church: Assembly of the People of God”

Priest celebrant:

  • The presider at Mass should not appropriate the functions that the liturgical norms assign to lesser ministers, except in case of necessity.
  • The homily belongs to the office of the presiding priest.
  • When the presider invites the assembly to prayer with the words, “Let us pray,” he leads the assembly to some moments of silence in which they place themselves in God’s presence and make their own petitions.
  • Proper vestments should at all times be worn in keeping with the liturgical norms.


  • Lectors, especially those assigned for Sunday celebrations, are to come together during the week to study the Sunday readings
  • They need to prepare and familiarize themselves with the biblical
    text before they proclaim it to the assembly.
  • When there is no deacon, a reader may carry the Book of the Gospels in front of the presiding priest in the entrance procession and lay it on the center of the altar. When there is no deacon, the reader announces the
    intentions of the General intercessions from the


  • The choir is at all times a part of the assembly. It should not replace the assembly or dominate the assembly in songs that rightfully belong to them.
  • The music director, working collaboratively with other ministers, has a particular responsibility to help select musical settings that allow the worthy celebration of the liturgy, respecting the different nature
    of the texts and actions of the liturgy, the feast, and the liturgical seasons.
  • We strongly recommend that the members of the choir avail themselves of the formation programs offered by the Archdiocesan Music Ministry and the Institute of Music in the Liturgy.

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion:

  • We feel the need to commission other extraordinary ministers whose principal task is to bring Holy Communion to the sick and the home-bound.
  • Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should regard their ministry as essentially related to all the other ministries in the liturgical celebration.
  • There is a need to intensify parochial formation programs that will supplement the annual formation program given by the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission, so that the extraordinary ministers of Holy
    Communion will be continually formed both liturgically and spiritually for the exercise of their ministry.

Altar servers:

  • It is a proven fact that many ordained ministers developed their vocation to the priesthood because of their membership in this ministry when they were young. We therefore wish to continue the practice of reserving this ministry to young boys.
  • Programs that will suit their age need to be designed by pastors and those that are in charge of them….The young altar servers should
    be diligently guided and formed by competent and God-fearing persons.

Greeters and Collectors:

  • [Greeters] should remember that they exhibit the image of a welcoming and open Church.
  • Greeters may assist with the collection and with the offering of the gifts.

Liturgy Coordinator:

  • The person to be appointed to as liturgy coordinator should have received formation through the liturgy programs of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission intended for this position.
  • The liturgy coordinator should foster and promote team work and coordination among the liturgical ministers.

II.  The Sunday Eucharistic Celebration

Liturgy of the Word:

  • The announcement of Mass intentions either at the beginning or at any part of the Mass has been discouraged.  We reiterate this policy …. so as not to perpetuate the misunderstanding among our people that they
    pay for the Mass.
  • The readings are to be proclaimed from the ambo.
  • It is appropriate that a period of silence be observed after the readings and the Gospel proclamation.
  • The high point of the Liturgy of the Word is the proclamation
    of the Gospel. The liturgy expresses this through solemn and special gestures of reverence. Particularly on Sundays, solemnities, and feasts, the use of the Book of the Gospel is highly recommended.
  • It is preferable that the responsorial psalm be sung.  The singing of psalms may be done in various ways. The usual form is responsorial: the psalmist or cantor sings the verses and the whole assembly takes
    up the response. In direct form, which is also permitted, there is no intervening response and the cantor, or the whole assembly together, sings the verses consecutively.
  • In the homily, firmly based on the mysteries of salvation, the mysteries of the faith and the guiding principles of Christian life are expounded from the Scriptures that have been proclaimed, and as the
    need arises, also from the other texts and rites of the liturgy.
  • The minister for the intentions of the prayers of the faithful is the deacon or, in his absence, the lector.
  • The place where this is announced is the ambo.

Liturgy of the Eucharist:

  • “Pondo ng Pinoy” collections can be a regular element in this liturgical act (procession with the gifts), since it can concretely express the gift of self by the faithful in union with Christ’s offering of himself to the Father. We have designated the last Sunday of every month for this
  • On the occasions of installation of parish priests, birthdays or anniversaries, and the like, it is discouraged that personal gifts for the priests be brought in procession. These personal gifts should be given to the priests during the reception party.
  • We reiterate the instruction given in the past that the use of holy water to bless persons who brought the Eucharistic gifts is not in keeping with liturgical norms and therefore should not be done.
  • The collection of money and other gifts are deposited in a suitable place but away from the Eucharistic table.

“He said the blessing”:

  • The great importance of the assembly’s response and acclamation can be difficult to bring out in the short word Amen. This should be sung or at least spoken loudly both at Sunday and weekday celebrations. Musical settings that moderately prolong the Amen or repeat it, though not excessively, can help the assembly respond more adequately to the prayer.
  • Before the breaking of the bread, the entire assembly prays …. the prayer Our Lord taught us…. We recommend that each parish should choose one musical setting to be used in all Sunday Masses so as to help the assembly participate fully and devoutly in singing it.
  • The proper gesture for the Lord’s Prayer is raised hands.
  • The breaking of the bread is done with dignity and deliberation by the priest celebrant, if necessary with the help of a deacon or a concelebrant.  It should never be done during the words of consecration.
  • Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who will assist at Communion should take their place in the sanctuary after the exchange of peace.

“He gave it to them”:

  • The faithful are not ordinarily to be given Communion from the tabernacle. Serious effort should be made to observe this norm as a regular practice in our parishes rather than as the exception.
  • Signs of unjust discrimination or social distinction  among persons at the Lord’s Table are to be avoided. When there is obvious intent of profanation, the priest and ministers should gently refuse to give
    Communion, avoiding the attention of the public.
  • Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion receive communion from the priest celebrant and receive the vessel of Communion from him.
  • The manner of receiving communion, whether by hand or in the mouth, is the prerogative of the communicant.
  • The purification of vessels after communion should be done at the side table and not on the altar.
  • Announcements should not interrupt the period of silence after communion. Novenas and other devotions and the collections should not be done during this time.
  • Announcements are done after the post Communion Prayer.

The part three on “Our Sunday Eucharist and Mission” does not concern liturgical norms.

Chrism Mass of Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales at the Manila Cathedral


Last Thursday, my sister, Sr. Josephine Sugon, H.G.S of the La Salle Sisters of Guadalupe told me that she wants to go to a Chrism mass at the Manila Cathedral.  She told me that every Thursday, she always pray for priests.  She has many priest friends in Bacolod City and in Naples, Italy.  She told me that the Chrism mass is sad and joyful day: many priests will renew their vows to the priesthood; some won’t.  She must pray.

I haven’t attended a Chrism mass in my whole life.  I rarely visit the St. Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City.  This would be the second time for me to visit the Manila Cathedral.  (The first time was last year when I was walking around Intramuros looking for a quick and cheap lunch.)  I agreed to go.

When we arrived at the EDSA-Taft, there were no trains.  So we took a taxi via Roxas Boulevard.  Across the huge limestone walls of Intramuros loomed the Manila Cathedral with its gray walls and blue roof.    Unmistakable.  We entered the walled city and paid our P90 fare.  It’s 8:00 a.m.


The crowds were overflowing outside the cathedral.  We entered the main door.  It’s a standing room only.  All the pews were filled.  We tried to squeeze in to the left aisle.  It is also filled.  We stood at the foot of one of the giant Greek columns of the Romanesque church.  We can barely see the Cardinal in his golden chasuble, against the background of six lighted candle sticks arrayed on an altar fixed to the wall, which long ago must have been used in the Traditional Latin Masses.  There is a new free standing altar beneath the canopy of the sanctuary.  I’m glad that the canopy wasn’t destroyed;  in San Sebastian Cathedral in my home province in Bacolod City, the canopy there was removed years ago.  Maybe they placed it back again (see beautiful pictures from Ivy Eclairs blog).

Cardinal Rosales was at the middle of his homily.  I did not bring my notebook, since I do not like to take notes during mass.  I remembered only three points.  First, the Cardinal said that when Jesus made his apostles priests, he did not anymore called them his friends but brothers.  Second, this coming June, a hundred years after the death of St. Jean Vianney, the Cure of Ars, the Cardinal said that Pope Benedict XVI will declare St. Vianney to be the patron not only of parish priests, not only of religious priests, but of all priests.  All.  And third, the Cardinal informed the congregation that there are four priests will renew their silver anniversary and another four (two?) their golden anniversary.

In the blessing of oils, the oils were carried by sacristans in large golden basins.  I wonder if the ingredients for the oils were the same as those used by high priests in the Old Testament.  But there are three types of oils blessed, as I understood from the accompanying song: (1) for anointing of the sick, (2) baptism, (3) and consecration of priests.

Two songs I clearly remembered played: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Johann Sebastian Bach and “O Redemptor!” by Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo.  Maybe it was Fr. Marcelo himself who conducted or played the organ–those huge silvery pipes at the lofty choir loft above the cathedral’s entrance.  I only heard about Fr. Marcelo from my sister-in-law who studied a few feeks several summers ago on liturgical music.

At the end of the mass, my sister and I stayed for a while.  There was a picture taking for the relatives and friends of the jubilarian priests.  We dd not join them.  We just sat at a bench and watched the religious priests and nuns passing by.  I saw the Missionaries of Charity with their white sari with blue outline.  I can’t figure out the other sisters.  My sister told me that group was St. Paul’s; that was Franciscans, etc.  It is difficult to keep track.  But as long as the nuns wear their habits, that is enough for me to know.

My sister, a La Salle Sister of  Guadalupe (Hermanas Guadalupanas de la Salle), wears a cream habit and white veil.  In formal occasions, she and her sisters wear black.  In the Philippines, they are never seen outside their convents out of habit.  They have formation houses in Bacolod City and Lipa City.

Vatican’s Ecclesia Dei Commission Reprimands Archbishop of Manila on the Unduly Restrictive Conditions on the Tridentine Mass

THE HEAD of the Vatican’s Ecclesia Dei commission has reprimanded the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, for setting “unduly restrictive” conditions on use of the Tridentine Mass, saying they were “in direct contradiction” to the wishes of Pope Benedict XVI.

“Your ‘Archdiocesan Guidelines’ are simply not acceptable as they stand and I ask you to reconsider them,” said the Ecclesia Dei president, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, in a letter dated 6 March and seen by The Tablet this week. It said “guidelines allowing only a monthly Mass in a chapel of [the] Metropolitan Cathedral” were in violation of the norms established in the motu proprio, “Summorum Pontificum”, issued by the Pope in 2007 for the widespread use of the Tridentine Mass. Cardinal Castrillón said the papal decree was “part of the universal law of the Church” and could not be limited by the “particular law” of a diocesan bishop. The Archdiocese of Manila ministers to more than 2.8 million Catholics.

“There is simply no legitimate reason why this [Tridentine] Mass cannot and should not be celebrated in any church or chapel of your archdiocese,” Cardinal Castrillón said in his letter to the Archbishop of Manila.

He insisted that Cardinal Rosales actively promote the implementation of the motu proprio by “helping priests who are desirous to learn how to celebrate” the old rite Mass, which he said only required that the priest be “reasonably competent in Latin”, and that there were faithful who wished to assist at its celebration. The Archdiocese of Manila published the Tridentine Mass guidelines on its website last year. But they were quickly removed when supporters of the old rite protested to Rome.

A hobbit thanks to Rorate Caeli.

Archdiocese of Manila: Guidelines on the Celebration of the Mass According to the Rite of the Roman Missal Published in 1962 (Tridentine Mass)

In accordance with the norms laid down by the Apostolic Letter, issued motu propio, of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum, We hereby establish the following guidelines and conditions on the celebration of the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962 (Tridentine Mass) in the Archdiocese of Manila:

  1. The regulation of the celebration of this extraordinary form of the Mass belongs to the Archbishop of Manila, through the Minister of the Ministry for Liturgical Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila.
  2. This form of Mass is to be celebrated only at the Christ the King Chapel of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Manila once a month, but not on Sundays and Solemnities.
  3. The presider at this form of celebration should be a priest duly appointed by the Archbishop of Manila.
  4. To ensure the solemnity and orderliness of the celebration of this form of Mass, the participation of other ministers (i.e., lectors, Master of Ceremonies, servers, choir, etc.) in the liturgy is to be determined and regulated by the Ministry for Liturgical Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila.
  5. The celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass in this Chapel is open to any individual or group in the Archdiocese of Manila who may have the desire to participate in such celebrations. Further requests from individuals or groups from the parishes of or who belong to the Archdiocese of Manila to celebrate this form of Mass is to be directed to join the monthly celebration at the Manila Cathedral.
  6. It is highly encouraged that a missal / booklet of the rite in Latin and English be prepared to help the faithful follow the celebration. It is like wise encouraged that those who will participate in this Mass undergo a catechetical orientation before the celebration.
  7. The Archbishop of Manila has jurisdiction over this celebration and, therefore, can decide to limit or discontinue this monthly celebration anytime he judges that this is not consonance with the whole pastoral direction of the Local Church.

Given in Manila, this 8th day of December 2008.

Archbishop of Manila



  1. A list of traditional latin masses in the Philippines is provided by Gerald at prodeoetpatria.  Check the sidebar.
  2. Read Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s comments per guideline in What Does the Prayer Really Say.
  3. Read the comment of Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce here.