Fr. Timoteo Ofrasio, SJ: The New English Translation of the Roman Missal and Liturgical Renewal

Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ gives a talk at the Theological Hour of the Loyola School of Theology

Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ gives a talk at the Theological Hour of the Loyola School of Theology

by Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ

(This talk was given this January 11, 2012, 10:30-12:00 at the Cardinal Sin Center, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila)


Forty-seven years after Vatican II and 43 years after publication of the Roman Missal of Paul VI, a new English translation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal is now in use in the English speaking world.  The role of the Roman Missal is vital in the ongoing liturgical renewal desired by Vatican II.  PCP II twenty years ago also listed ‘liturgical renewal’ as one of the tasks of the Church in the Philippines in its goal of renewed integral evangelization. It lists the Eucharist, particularly the Sunday celebration, as among the more vital areas of renewal.[1]

As early as 2009 when the new translation of the Ordinary of the Mass was made available on the web by the USCCB, voices of alarm were raised from all quarters.  Rumours of a reform of the reform had been circulating since Pope Benedict became pope in 2005 and the new English translation was seen as part of that alleged reform.  The issuance of the Instruction Summorum Pontificum issued motu propio in 2007 which allowed the more liberal use of the pre-VAtican II Tridentine Latin Mass further buttressed the belief in a perceived papal policing of the Roman liturgy.  There were fears of a return to the pre-Vatican II liturgy, and that the new English translation would revert the Church back to the old Latin Liturgy.  The truth of the matter, if we care to look back, is that Liturgicam Authenticam is a product of Pope John Paul II’s document Vigesimus quintus annus, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, which called for an opportune stock-taking, not least in the area of faithfulness in translation.  The editio typica of the Missale Romanum on which the new English translation is based, was published by the Holy See in 2002, when Blessed John Paul II was still gloriously reigning, and Liturgicam authenticam on which the new English translation was based, was published by the Holy See in 2001, again during the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II.  If anything, the present pope, Benedict XVI, is only implementing, and continuing, the changes set in motion by his predecessor.

On the other hand, the English translation of the editio typica of the Missale Romanum of 1969 and the editio typica altera of 1975 was based on the translation principle of dynamic or functional equivalence as elucidated in the document Comme le prevoit— On the Translation of Liturgical Texts for Clebrations with a Congregation issued by the Consilium for Implementing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy on January 25, 1969.  Dynamic equivalence attempts to convey the thought expressed in a source text (if necessary, at the expense of literalness, orginal word order, the source text’s grammatical voice, etc.)

The new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal of 2002, is based on the principle of formal equivalence as explained in the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on 28 March 2001 requiring that in translations of the liturgical texts from the official Latin originals, “the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses.  Any adaptation to the characteristics or the nature of the various vernacular languages is to be sober and discreet.”

The two approaches represent emphasis, respectively, on readability and on literal fidelity  to the source text.  There is no sharp boundary between dynamic and formal equivalence.  All the polemics and reactions for and against the new English translation are based on these two principles of translation.

Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds in England, and Chairman of ICEL, notes that objections to ICEL’s translation work are really objections to Liturgiam authenticam.  Stipulations of this instruction differ markedly from those of the earlier document, Comme le prevoit.  These two documents do not have the same status: the earlier document was issued by the Consilium, the latter by the Congregation.  At the heart of Comme le prevoit was the idea of “dynamic equivalence”, as achieved when a translator detaches the “content” of an utterance from the “form” in which it is expressed.

Bishop Roche cites, for example, the Third Eucharistic Prayer when we say ‘so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made,’ to translate the Latin ‘ut a solis ortu usque ad ocasum oblatio munda offeratur.’  The poponents of dynamic equivalence say that ‘from east to west’ conveys the same information as ‘from the rising of the sun to its setting’, which is how the new translation renders it.  But the meaning of this phrase is richer: it is an expression found in Malachi 1:11:

See from the rising of the sun to its settinbg all the nations revere my Name and everywhere incense is offered to my Name as well as a pure offering.

The expression is likewise found in the Psalms.  It has been said by those who did not understand the context of the expression that to complete it, it should be rendered as ‘from north to south, and from east to west…’ whcih is not exactly the point of the expression; certainly the original Latin text does not have that sense in the expression.

Another example cited by Bishop Roche is found in the Fourth Eucharistic Prayer in the phrase, ‘ex genimine vitis repletum’ rendered in the new translation as ‘the fruit of the vine’ in the Institution Narrative.  The present translation says, ‘He took the cup filled with wine.’ Some argue that ‘the fruit of the vine’ means the same as the single word ‘wine,’ and that the simpler expression should be preferred.  But the words ‘the fruit of the vine’ are said by the Lord Himself in all three synoptic Gospels–this phrase has a powerful salvific resonance because of the symbolic value accorded to the vine and the vineyard in Scripture, as recalled by  Jesus’ elaboration in John 15 of the image of Himself as the true vine, His Father as the vinedresser, and ourselves as the branches.  This echoes back an even earlier usage in Isaiah 5–the famous “Song of the Vineyard”–and the Lord’s lament at the degeneracy of his once choice vine in Jeremiah 2.  Of course, the word wine connects with this Scriptural patrimony, but it does so les evidently than does the phrase ‘fruit of the vine’ which, upon each hearing, encourages us in our imaginations to see the particular Eucharistic event as part o fthe unfolding of God’s universal plan within history to rescue us from the destruction and chaos occasioned by our sinfulness and bring us into communion with Himself and with each other in Christ.[2]

And so, the new English translation of the Roman Missal is not meant to revert the Churchback to the old Latin liturgy, as many fear.  Forty-eight years after Sacrosanctum Concilium, and thirty-eight years after the first publication of the English Sacaramentary, the Holy See through the new International Commision on English in the Liturgy (ICEL)[3] and Vox Clara Committee[4] thought that it was now time to revise the English translation of the Roman Missal which was published as the English Sacramentary.  ICEL and Vox Clara both felt that there was a need to make a new translation that would be more thorough, clearer and nearer to the Latin original text.  Why this preoccupation with fidelity of the vernacular translation to the original Latin text?  We will shortly answer this sensitive question.

As early as 1992 when the old ICEL issued a proposed new translation of the Ordinary of the Mass of the Missal of Paul VI (presumably that project is now moot and academic since the disbanding of the group) until the appearance of “semi-offcial” English translation in 2009 of the Ordo Missae of the Missale Romanum editio typica tertia, I was hopeful for the revision of the Missale Romanum editio typica of 1969, and the editio typica altera of 1975, both under the pontificate of Paul VI.  Both earlier typical editions appeared in English translation of the Roman Sacramentary published by the old ICEL, and in Tagalog and other vernacular translations published by various diocesan liturgical commissions.

Reasons to be Hopeful

Hopeful, because

  1. I thought that finally some needed corrections could be put into place in this latest edition of the Roman Missal, vis-a-vis the presidential prayers: the axiom lex orandi, lex credendi could be applied to the text of the prayers.  This is my response to the question I just posed concerning the fidelity of the vernacular translation to the Latin original.  With the present translations–in English, Tagalog and Cebuano–I somehow have the feeling that they were hurriedly done given the exigency in 1969 of coming up with a workable translation for use in Masses in the vernacular[5].  In the process, the truths of the Catholic fraith were watered down in paraphrases and generalizations, and the results are vague statements and platitudes that do not explicitly express the Catholic faith.  In other words, some truths were somehow “lost in translation.”
  2. I am also hopeful for the revision because I have always felt even before my priestly ordination in  1979 that the language of the Missal in the vernacular, since it is addressed to God, should be above the casual manner of human speech.  In other words, it should be elegant and dignified, respectful but not distant, nor detached, or cold.  With the new translation I thought that this situation could finally be remedied.

These are the two main reasons for my high hopes for the new Englsih translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.  There is reason to hope that the postconciliar liturgical renewal will continue with, and be enhanced by, this new English Missal.

At the time I wrote this article, I had not yet seen the entire published Englsih Missal.  I have a soft copy of some parts of it which also includes the new Ordo Missae.  I have noted the verbal changes in various parts of the Ordinary of the Mass, and as a whole, I like them.  I have also read quite a number of articles pro and contra published in the web, and have noted the merits and demerits of the points they raised.

The Case of the Tagalog Missal: Aklat ng Pagmimisa sa Roma

It seems to me that the present situtation of the new English translation can be compared to the introduction in 1981 of the then new Tagalog translation of the Missal, the current Aklat ng Pagmimisa sa Roma spearheaded by my friend and classmate in the minor seminary, the late Monsignor Moises Andrade.  I was a young priest then, and I remember how fellow priests protested and created stir against the new translation which was so different fro the translation then in use, the Misal Romano of Monsignor Jose Abriol.  For one I questioned the quaint title of the book: Aklat ng Pagmimisa sa Roma.  I realized it was a literal translation of the Latin, Missale Romanum, which was formerly translated as Misal Romano (from the Spanish).  Then, too, I thought the language of the Aklat ng Pagmimisa was archaic and difficult to proclaim, the sentences/phrases of the orations were in many places convoluted, such that by the time one got to the end of the prayer, one did not know exactly what one prayed for.  The Aklat also used a somewhat stilted, poetic style–with measure and rhyme–which I felt was rather too contrived and artificial.  One of the disputed words in the Aklat was ‘hinawakan Niya ang tinapay’ for ‘He took the Bread’ in the Consecration formula, which many of us then thought would have been better translated as ‘kinuha Niya ang tinapay,’ which is the more accurate translation of the Latin accepit panem.  Another word that was disputed was ‘pagindapatin,’ for ‘to make worthy’ which we felt would be more naturally translated as ‘marapatin’.  These expressions and others like them might have sounded familiar and normal speech in Bulacan, but certainly not in all of the Tagalog-speaking regions.  When I asked Monsignor Andrade why the Tagalog translation did not undergo a trial period for corrections and reactions the way the old ICEL did with its green and gray books, he told me that the process was tedious and would take long.  Let the priests wrestle with it, he said; there is no other offical Tagalog translation approved by the Holy See.  Thjat was thirty years agao.  Today, the Aklat ng Pagmimisa is the standard liturgical book in all parishes in the Tagalog region, and while there are still occasional complaints about the Tagalog vernacular translation, all seems quiet on the pastoral front.

First-Hand Experience of the New Translation

Since Advent 2011, the whole English-speaking world-except the Philippines–has started to use the new English translation.  In the Diocese of Novaliches, where I serve as pastor in a subdivision parish, the Local Ordinary, Bishop Antonio Tobias, decided to have the new English translation used in English Masses in order to, in the bishop’s own words, “slowly acquaint the parishioners with the language of the new translation.”  Although I would have preferred the this were done more systematically withy proper catechesis, I plunged into it head-on, and the results were unexpected.

For one, the change was no big deal for the Mass-goers.  They responded to the dialogue without difficulty; there was no big deal about ‘And with your spirit…,’ no big deal about ‘through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault’ in the Confiteor, no big deal about ‘consubstantial,’ about ‘sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall‘ in the Eucharistic Prayer II, about ‘I am not worthy that you enter under my roof…’  They were quite attentive and conscientious in their responses.

What I myself found out was because I was so familiar with the old translation to the point of having committed to memory the Ordinary of the Mass–three of the Eucharistic Prayers included–realized that I could very easily trip on the words of the new translation for the simple reason that I thought I knew exactly what was coming, but o my surprise the phrasing was different from what I have gotten used to.  Hopefully this will eventually be remedied with constant use.

So how do I find the English of the new translation, particularly the presidential prayers?  The first thing I observed is that the translation has mostly retained the courtliness and stateliness of the Latin original.  Compared to the simple and direct language of the former translation, the language of the new translation bespeaks of a healthy recovery of formal language, the language we address to God.  There is in the prayers a rich theological density or complexity, a whole theology that makes us attuned to God and thus transfigures us, in contrast to the accessible, bland, flat and abstract language of the former translation.  Another obvious quality of the prayers is the poetry, the Biblical metaphor and concrete imagery they contain.

The Importance of Language in Worship

At this point the obvious argument in favour of the translation based on the principle of dynamic equivalence would be the use of simple, succinct and direct language which so appeals to our postmodern sensibilities.  Why use a language pattern in worship that is so estranged to the speech of the ordinary person?  Should not the language of worship reflect a speech pattern identical to that of the ordinary person’s in his communication?

In response to this, liturgical scholar Uwe Michael Lang comments that “[l]anguage is not only an instrument that serves to communicate facts, which it seeks to do in the most simple and efficient way, but it is also the means to express our mind in a way that involves the whole person.  Consequently, langauge is also the means by which we express thoughts and religious experiences.[6]

The use of the sacred language–and this rightly includes Latin–in the liturgical celebration is part of what St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologiae calls ‘solemnitas’.  The Angelic Doctor teaches: “What is found in the sacraments by human institution is not necessary to the validity of the sacrament, but confers a certain solemnity, useful in the sacraments to exercise devotion and reespect in those who receive it”[7].  Sacred language, being the means of expression not only of individuals, but rather of a community that follows its traditions, is conservative: it maintains the archaic linquistic forms with tenacity.  Moreover, introduced in it are external elements, in so far as associated to an ancient religious tradition.  A paradigmatic case is the Hebrew bibilical vocabulary in the Latin used by Christians (Amen, Alleluia, Hosanna, etc), as St. Augustine already observed.[8]

The Old and the New Prayers Compared

At the beginning of this talk, I said that there is much hope for the continuation of the postconciliar liturgical renewal with the new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.  It attempts to capture concepts of the faith contained in the Latin text more accurately, and thus embodies the axiom lex orandi, lex credendi, specifically in the euchology of the Missal.  The prayers we pray at Mass ought to clearly express what we believe.  By way of example, let us take a look at the Collect Prayer for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  This Collect was in the pre-conciliar 1962 MR, the so-called “Tridentine” Missal, for the 5th Sunday after Epiphany.

Collect–Latin text (2002 MR):

Familiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, continua pieta custodi, ut quae in sola spe gratiae caelestis innititur, tua semper protectione muniatur.[9]

A quasi-literal English translation would render it as:

Guard your family, we beseech you, O Lord, with continual mercy, so that that (family) which is proppingt itself up upon the sole hope of heavenly grace may always be defended by your protection.

The Old ICEL, using the principle of dynamic equivalence in 1973, rendered it in English translation as:

Father, watch over your family and keep us safe in your care, for all our hope is in you.

The new, corrected version of the new Roman Missal, using the principle of formal equivalence, renders the prayer thus:

Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care, that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace, they may be defended always by your protection.

Comparing the two versions of the Collect prayer, it is quite obvious that the version used in the 3rd edition MR has more substance to it than the rather lame and bland rendition of the 1970 MR.  For one, the idea expressed in the ut-clause–reliance on the hope of heavenly grace–in the 3rd edition MR is absent from the 1970 MR.

In general, with the new translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, the Liturgy will be more formal and theologically deeper, more evocative emotionally and intellectually.[10]

Conditions for the Continuation of Liturgical Renewal

For the liturgical renewal to continue, however, it will need more than just the third edition of the Roman Missal.  Several factors play an important role in achieving this renewal.  There may be others, but these are the more obvious ones:

  1. instill love and respect for the Liturgy, especially the Mass, in the seminary training of candidates for Orders–in the classroom, in the chapel and in the apostolate;
  2. review the ideas/concepts behind the ars celebrandi of priests when they celebrate the Mass;
  3. fidelity-not rigidity–to the directions or rubrics in the Roman Missal.
In terms of directions or rubrics, aside from the suggestion for adlibbing, as in “in these or similar words,” all three editions of the Roman Missal are clear and if adhered to by celebrants (“say the black, do the red,” as they say) can contribute to a reverent, God-centered celebration of Mass.
For postconciliar liturgical renewal to continue, the seminary formation of candidates for Orders will have to be seriously looked into, both in classes on sacraments and liturgy and in seminary community liturgical celebrations.  What is taught in the classroom must be practiced must be practiced in the seminary daily liturgical celebrations so that a tradition of ars celebrandi is established and imbibed by seminarians preparing for Holy Orders.  It is from the healthy interweaving of sound theologico-liturgical studies and praxis that we can produce priests who have a sense of the sacred, a sense of awe and wonder before the majesty of God, a sense of the mysterium tremendum in the liturgical action they carry out for God’s people in the Church.  If seminary liturgies are sloppily and carelessly celebrated; if seminarians are allowed to “tinker” with, and make unauthorized changes in the Mass, chances are, after ordination, they will repeat the same abuses in the parishes where they will be assigned.  Qualified professors of liturgy and sacraments who know Church Tradition and have a healthy respect for it, need to instill in the hearts of the candidates for Ordination a respect and love for the Liturgy, especially the Mass.


Ultimately, however–and this is my conclusion to this paper–the right direction for liturgical reform depends on the individual celbrant and how he celebrates the Mass: his belief, his attitude, his devotion or the lack of it.  A priest is a steward of the mysteries of God in the Church.  Aas steward (other than acting in persona Christi capitis), the Mass is a treasure entrusted to him by the Church which he must cherish, guard, and preserve.  It is not something he is free to tinker with and make changes to, depending on his understanding or the need of the moment that he perceives.  The Mass he celebrates is not “his” mass; it is the Church’s.

If the priest does not honestly beieve that through his agency simple bread and wine become the precious Body and Blood of the Lord both during Mass and after it; in other words, if he does not dvoutly believe in Transubstantiation and the REal Presence as transmitted to us by the Church and Sacred Tradition, and instead interprets it according to how he understands it; if he does not believe that the Mass is above all the making present of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary in an unbloody manner, that it is also the sacrifice of the Church in union with that one sacrifice of Christ; if he sees the Mass solely as a community meal that memorializes the Last Supper; if he regards the Mass primarily as a feast, which celebrates the coming together of the community, and not as the highest form of worship that the Church can render to God under the headship of Jesus Christ the High Priest, then, no matter what revisions the Roman Missal undergoes, liturgical renewal as desired by Vatican II in Sacrosanctum concilium and as envisioned by PCP II will continue to be held hostage by pseudo-liturgists and celebrants who see the Liturgy and the Mass as their “property” and thus indulge in “creative” tinkering to entertain themselves and their audience.


[1] Secretariat, Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, 1992, Acts and Decrees, nn. 176-181, pp. 66-67.

[2] Cf. Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, Chairman of ICEL, Address to the USCCB, 15 June 2006.

[3] The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) is a mixed commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in countries where English is used in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy according to the Roman Rite.  The purpose of the Commission is to prepare Englsih translation so the each of the Latin liturgical books and any individual liturgical texts in accord with the directives of the Holy See.

[4] Vox Clara is a committee of senior Bishops from Episcopal Conferences throughout the English-speaking world formed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on July 19, 2001 in order to provide advice to the Holy See concerning English-language liturgical books and to strengthn efective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops in this regard.

[5] The 1973 English translation of the Roman Missal was based on the principle of dynamic equivalence, which is the preferred model for translation in the Instruction Comme le prevoit.

[6] Uwe Michael Lang CO, “The Language of Celebration”

[7] Ibid, Summa Theologiae III, 64, 2; cf. 83, 4.

[8] Ibid., cf. “De doctrina Christiana” II, 34-35 [11-16].

[9] Custodio means “to watch, protect, keep, defend, guard.”  It is common in military language.  Innitor, a deponent verb, means “to learn or rest upon, to support one’s self by any thing.”  Innitor also has military overtones.  The thorough and replete “Lewis & Short Dictionary” provides examples from Caesar and Livy describing soldiers leaning on their spears and shields” cf. Caesar, De bello Gallico 2.27).  Munio is similarly military term for walling up something up, putting in a state of defense, fortifying so as to guard.  Are you sensing a theme?  We need a closer look.

We must make a distinction about pietas when applied to us and when applied to God.  When pietas is attributed to God, it means “mercy”.  Pietas gives us the English word “piety”.  L&S says pietas when applied to persons is “dutiful conduct toward the gods, one’s parents, relatives, benefactors, country, etc., sense of duty.”  It furthermore describes pietas in Jerome’s Vulgate in both Old and New Testament as “conscientiousness, scrupulousness regarding love and duty toward God.”   The heart of pietas is “duty.”  Pietas is also one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (cf. CCC 733-36; Isaiah 11:2), by which we are duly affectionate and grateful toward our parents, relatives and country, as well as to all men living insofar as they belong to God or are godly, and especially  to the saints.  In loose or common parlance, “piety” indicates fulfilling the duties of religion.  Sometimes “pious” is used in a negative way, as when people take aim at external displays of religious dutifulness as opposed to what they is “genuine” practice (cf. Luke 18:9-14).  (Prayer analysis by Father John Zuhlsdorf, What Does the Prayer Really Say blog, 07 February 2011)

[10] Jerry Filteau, “Liturgy will be more formal, theologically deeper” in Roman Missal, website of the USCCB.

Liturgical Formation and Enrichment (LIFE) Seminar 1: Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy

LIFE (Liturgical Formation and Enrichment) Program for Altar Servers, Commentators, and Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion.  Venue: Nativity of Our Lady Parish, Major Dizon St., Marikina City.  Date: 10 July 2011, Sunday 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Diocese of Cubao, Commission on the Liturgy

(Transcribed and translated in situ by Quirino Sugon Jr.  The talks already started when I came.)

Speaker 1: Bro. Dave Caesar dela Cruz

Liturgical celebrations:

  • Mass
  • Sacraments
  • Liturgical Year
  • Liturgy of the Hours—Liturgy of the Word
  • Blessings and Sacramentals—pilgrimmages, rosary

All sacraments are celebrated inside the mass, except for the mass.

Why are these celebrations holy?

Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium)

This is the law of the church in order to teach us the value and effects of liturgy on our life as church. All documents of the church are given its first phrases as its title. For example, “Sacrosanctum Concilium”. December 4, 1963. Do you know what day is it? This is the first Sunday of Advent. What is the story behind this? In the old days, the priest is the main celebrant. Now, the Church saw that there should be renewal of the liturgy because the people does not anymore know Latin. That is why there was a Second Vatican Council, called by Blessed John XXIII. In the olden days, there is the Council of Trent 1500’s, a long meeting of pope and bishops. The function of the Council of Trent is to fight agains the protestants. Before the Council of Trent, each country has their own liturgy. The church has many liturgies—Ambrosian, Carmelite, Mozarabic, Slavonic. Martin Luther said there is no unity of the Church.

So in the Council of Trent they made a new mass called the Tridentine Rite. First, the language is Latin. Dominus Vobiscum. Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. Why Latin? This is the language understood by most people. The priest is our path to our sanctification. Only the priest.

In 1963, there is a slight change. From 1500s to 1963, they discovered old documents on how they celebrated the liturgy. Before they have not yet found some parts of the Bible and writings of the Church Fathers. Council of Trent allows mass to be said in vernacular, which is the language of the people. We are still allowed to use Latin. In Rome, the pope says mass in Latin. One of the poorest people that can understand Latin are Filipinos. Why can’t Filipinos understand Latin. In Claret, the motto is sensa maxime cum virtute. Knowledge is great with virtue. Great not best. We do not know Latin. This is the poverty of the Philippines. Do you believe that the Sacramentary, Gospel book, Lectionary are originally in Latin. Look at the Sacramentary at the back, you will see Latin.

There was renewal of rites. The priest was facing the… There should always be a cross and an altar. There was a change in the understanding of the liturgy. In 1500s, the liturgy is all the rites inside the liturgy. But in Vatican II, liturgy is deepened. In Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC)….

SC 2. For the liturgy, “through which the work of our redemption is accomplished,” [1] most of all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek [2]. While the liturgy daily builds up those who are within into a holy temple of the Lord, into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit [3], to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ [4], at the same time it marvelously strengthens their power to preach Christ, and thus shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations [5] under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together [6], until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd [7].

What is the liturgy? In the Liturgy, especially through the Holy Eucharist, the work of our redemption is accomplished. Opus nostrae redemptionis exercetur. Salvation is made present today. 2000 years ago, Jesus saved us through his death on the cross. We are already saved. But because of his great love for us, our salvation is being continued day by day whenever we celebrate the Holy Eucharist. You can see once again the salvation of Christ. Which is greater, the salvation before by Christ or the salvation wrought by the Liturgy. How Christ saved us before is the same as he saved us now. How does Christ save us? In 33 AD, Christ saved us through his death on the cross. Now, Jesus saves us in a form of meal and celebration. It is not anymore needed that our salvation be bloody. In each of our actions in the liturgy, Jesus is there saving us. So when you serve, do not play with what you have. For example, how can an ordinary clasping of the hands, Jesus is already saving us. Yesterday, a priest is saying mass, the sacristan and the priest are talking, the sacristans are walking back and forth. Were they saved by Christ through the liturgy? Before Christ went to heaven, Christ already left us the means of salvation. “This is the cup of my Blood, the Blood of Everlasting Covenant, so that sins may be forgiven.” It is true that Christ saved all of us, but not all availed of the salvation. Even just holding the bell, we are being saved? Do good works. Do good charity. But in the liturgy, salvation is made present today. Christ does not have to die again. You who are the sacristans became the means how Christ saved other people. In each of your bell, your incense, your soutana. There are many priests who wear soutana, where the priest wears printed under shirt. Why are they wearing maong and rubber shoes, but the priest does not wear proper clothing. Liturgy is salvation made present.

SC 7. To accomplish so great a work, Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, “the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross” [20], but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes [21]. He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20) . Christ indeed always associates the Church with Himself in this great work wherein God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified. The Church is His beloved Bride who calls to her Lord, and through Him offers worship to the Eternal Father. Rightly, then, the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of the man is signified by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs; in the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members. From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which .s the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.

Christ must be present in the liturgy. The four presence of Jesus in the Liturgy:

  • Presider—Priest. Later when you see the priest, there is an assurance that there is Christ.
  • Word of God, especially in the Gospel. That is why we stand during the Gospel and the Gospel is being incensed.
  • Bread and Wine changed to Body and Blood of Christ. There is Christ 100%
  • Assembly—were two or three are gathered, there I am in the midst of them

Jesus gave us salvation. Liturgy is salvation made present today. If these four are present, it is the mark that salvation is made present today. The mass is the highest form of prayer. Why? It can only highest, if the person praying is Christ, our High Priest. Jesus Christ alone can perfect our prayer. It is the highest prayer because it is Christ who makes the prayer together with us. In the liturgy, we are like a body. Christ is the head, we are the body. That is why when the priest prays, he extends his hands, in orantes position, because he shows to the people that the priest offers to God the worship. The liturgy is our worship to the Father. That is why we glorify God through the Liturgy. In all the Sacraments we address to God the Father, except in one opening prayer of the Corpus Christi. In the Liturgy, the worship to the Father happens in this way. The Church prays with Jesus. Jesus offers worship to God the Father. How does our prayer goes up to God or heard by God? There is only one reason, through the Holy Spirit. “Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit” In actuality, the Person calling you to be an altar server is the Holy Spirit. Within the Church, the cycle which operates is the Holy Spirit. The action of the Holy Spirit in this cycle is Paraclesis.

The Holy Spirit has a way for us to worship God: Anamnesis. Amnesia is forgetting. Anamnesis is remembering. We remember all the good things done by God in our lives. Notice that all the opening prayers in our prayer: “Father calling to mind the death and resurrection of your Son. That is we offer to you the bread and…” We remember all the good things done by God, . In the blessing of baptismal water during Easter, “Lord when you created water, you destroyed the world thorugh water, you remember Moses through water, Jesus was also baptized, in the crucifixion, water came out. Lord send your Holy Spirit so that this water may be holy as has been done before.”

Epiclesis. The Holy Spirit comes down to give us the gifts that we ask, the graces. Lord you are the fountain of all holiness, so through your Spirit may this become the Body and Blood of Christ. There is only one grace given to us by God and this is the grace of holinesss. So if you serve in the mass. That is why it is sad to see altar servers that do not change their lives. After serving, do we become holy. Yesterday, the priest was angry, but for those who were sown the seeds of the Word of God, were their lives changed. Altar servers, during and after our worship, do we become holy. Dress is not the path to sanctity, for sanctity is in our actions.

What do you call the push of the Holy Spirit? Anaclesis. This is the courage given by the Holy Spirit for us to serve.

Lord, we ask this through Christ our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Notice the format in the liturgy. Check the opening prayer. The format of liturgical prayer:

  • Address to the Father
  • Anamnesis. We remember God’s goodness.
  • Intentio—Requests to God
  • Ut” clause—purpose or Koinomia—should be helpful for other people
  • Concluding prayer– We ask this through Christ our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

SC 10. 10. Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord’s supper.

The liturgy in its turn moves the faithful, filled with “the paschal sacraments,” to be “one in holiness” [26]; it prays that “they may hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith” [27]; the renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way.

Liturgy is the source and summit of the Church and Christian life. Liturgy is the life of the Church. Have you seen a church or chapel that has no mass? In all chapels and churches there is the mass. The Church or chapel was built not to become a social hall or meeting place. Life of the altar servers, lectors, commentators, priests—all their life is Liturgy not social service. Look at the life of the priests and sisters, they will pray the liturgy of the hours and the mass. When you go to the Liturgical year, the Sunday is the start of the week and the Sabbath of the Christians. Liturgy is the life of the Church, “culmen et fons”, source and summit of Christian life.

SC 8. In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle [22]; we sing a hymn to the Lord’s glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory [23].

SC 8 says foretast of the heavenly liturgy. Who wants to go to heaven? Who wants to go now? If you want to go to heaven, liturgy is our way. But if you want to taste heaven, in liturgy is the answer. But sometimes, in the liturgy there is hell. As one sacristan said, Liturgy is hell—meetings, service. Etc. Whenver we celbrate the liturgy, the heaven and earth meet. “And so with all the choirs of angels in heaven singing … heaven and earth are full of your glory…” Heaven and earth meet because Jesus Christ is present. “Make us worthy to share eternal life with Mary, and all the saints,…” Who can go inside the heaven, Only those who go to heaven are those who are holy. In receiving Christ we become holy, so that we can go to heaven. But how many lay liturgical ministers that became holy through the liturgy? How many people know that liturgy is the source of life? Jesus said: “What you loose on earth shall be loosed on heaven. What you bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven.”

But how can we know the ways that we receive the gifts of the Liturgy. This we shall learn from SC 14 and SC 21.

Speaker 2: Carlos Babiano

SC 14. 14. “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.

Yet it would be futile to entertain any hopes of realizing this unless the pastors themselves, in the first place, become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy, and undertake to give instruction about it. A prime need, therefore, is that attention be directed, first of all, to the liturgical instruction of the clergy. Wherefore the sacred Council has decided to enact as follows:

Full conscious and active participation (1 Pet 2:9). A chosen race. Silence is a form of active participation. We listen to the word of God. Our eyes are focused on the ambo. And we are looking at the altar, escpecially during the elevation of the Body and Blood of Christ. Every part of the liturgy, we put our hearts and minds and all our senses to what is happening. And God speaks in silence. That is why we keep quiet during homily and after communion. Silence is a form of participation.

If you go to war, you must know how to shoot. Formations like this is our manual. Manuals make us full, conscious, active participation. (1 Peter 2:4-5) We are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart.” So when we go to mass, we are a nation chosen by Christ, and we are part of the work of Christ. Not only the head, but also his body the Church.

By reason of their Baptism. As we go on with our study. What are the three missions of Jesus Christ: priestly, kingly, prophetic. A king serves the people. Prophetic proclaimes the Word of God. Priest offer prayers. All of who are baptized are priests with Christ. We have the power to pray—that itself is our priestly duty. This is different from the ordained ministry who presides over the celebration of the Eucharist. Before it is just the priest, now the laity can actively participate in the Holy Eucharist. It is not just the priest’s job, but the duty of every baptized person.

Instruction. Because formation is important, the reason why things are being done the way they are done. In order for them to know what is happening, we need catechesis. The very celebration itself is a good explanation, if the celebration is in conformity with the wishes of the Church. In Latin, we say “Lex orandi, lex credendi”. Why do we genuflect in front of the tabernacle? This is because we want to recognize the Real Presence of Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. When we pray the Creed, we bow down during the incarnation. This is my Body. This is my Blood. The very words of Christ becomes the very words of the priest. So the priest cannot say, “this becomes the Body or this symbolizes my Body.” And this where the transubstation happens.

What you pray is how you believe. And not only this: “Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.” Our active participation in the Liturgy should bear fruit in the works. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. The Liturgy is the means for us to share in the life of God. This is the life of love. I wish to be good, but I can’t. If the Holy Spirit pushes us to serve, the Holy Spirit also pushes us to bear fruit. This is the Parable of the Sower. But there is a seed that grew in the good soil. Make our souls a good ground that God’s love is planted in our heart that the love of Christ is shared to all people. In our sharing of the Body and Blood of Christ be brought together in unity of the Holy Spirit. ….Let us be filled with every grace and blessing. Not only in the pockets, in the earthly, but in goodness. We have sick persons at home, we may be irritated, but God pushes us to do good. Not only in our understanding of the words and actions in the mass, but in the way we live.

SC 21. In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.

In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.

Wherefore the sacred Council establishes the following general norms:

There are two points worth noting here: (1) elements that are divinely instituted and (2) elements that are subject to change. There two kinds of tradition: Tradition and tradition. Tradition with capital T are the commands of Christ: Do this in remembrance of me. In Holy Thursday, the divine institution of the Eucharist is the commandment of Christ. The same words that Jesus made in the Last Supper and further actualized in the cross. In Holy Thursday, St. Paul said: “I received from the Lord, … This is my Body…This is my Blood”is is t….[computer glitch prevented transcription]

Noble simplicity of the Roman Rite.

In this restoration both text and rites are brought forth so they express the holy things that they signify. Lex Orandi, lex credendi. The proclamation of our Faith.

The Christian people should be made able to understand. Full, conscious, active participation. Why do we repeat these? Because the Church wants to value the importance of the Liturgy. Why do we go to mass? So that we can be saved. So to end. This is just a reminder for each of us. We part of the mission of salvation of Christ. Our fun and learning never ends—Barney. Despite our age groups, never too late because in our pursuit of service, we are challenged to become formator, not just written in the paper, but in the way we serve and live our life in our minds, heart, and spirit, in the open arms of Christ on the cross, offering up himself, for His Church, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Speaker 3: Dave Caesar dela Cruz

Full conscious active participation. There is a difference between conscious active participation from active participation. What we do in the mass is without value if we do not know what we do in the liturgy. And you ask, why are you doing these?

 SC 21. In this restoration, so that they may express more clearly the holy things which they signify. Why do you do incense. Why do you raise the Gospel book? Study. LIFE is just a way for us, to have conscious participation in our level. The Christian people should be able to understand them. You may have knowledge but no wisdom and virtue. May this first part of the liturgy, we must study and know so that it would bear fruit. As you go out of the parish, you do not just serve, but you serve with knowledge, because this will help me in my life as lay liturgical ministry. Mass is not just an obligation, but the mass makes me holy, and I do this through full and active participation, but also conscious participation.

Assignment. This is only 3 Sundays every month. Baptism is the very reason for full, conscious, and active participation.

  • In a one whole bondpaper, what is the feeling of celebrating the mass after this discussion?

Next professor next Sunday, Sir Julius Policarpio. Our topic is Sacramental Theology. What is a Sacrament? Why is there a Sacrament? Who instituted the Sacrament?  

Ateneo Latin Mass Society: Call for choir and sacristans

Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 22:06:10 +0800
Ateneo Blueboard

The Ateneo Latin Mass Society (ALMS) is an organization of faculty, students, staff, and alumni of Ateneo de Manila University for the promotion of the Latin Mass in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite, but with a preferential option for the extraordinary form, in the Ignatian tradition of magis or “more”. Starting this July 2011, ALMS shall sponsor Latin masses at the Ateneo High School once a month. The priest celebrant will be Fr. Timoteo “Tim” Ofrasio, SJ, a professor of Liturgy at the Loyola House of Studies and parish priest of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Novaliches.

Also, starting this June 2011, ALMS shall sponsor trainings for the sacristan and choir:

  1. Sacristan training is four Sundays, 9-12 am. Possible venue is Nativity of Our Lady Parish, Maj. Dizon St., Industrial Village, Marikina City. The training shall cover the following topics: (a) history of altar servers, (b) Holy Mass as the highest form of worship,(c) liturgical year, (d) altar vestments and vessels, (e) ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation, (f) ordinary form of the Roman Rite, (g) extraordinary form of the Roman rite, (h) practicum, and (i) commissioning. The training is organized by ALMS and by the Commission on Liturgy of the Diocese of Cubao.
  2. Choir training is at least an hour a week for the whole year. The training shall cover the following topics: (a) ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation, (b) Gregorian neumes (square notes), (b) ictus and breathing marks, (c) chanting of mass responses, (d) chants for Ordinary Feasts (Missa de Angelis), (e) chants for Feasts of Blessed Virgin (cum Jubilo), (f) chants for Sundays throughout the year, (g) chants for Sundays and Ferias of Advent and Lent, (h) Credo, Pater Noster, and Salve Regina, (i) and chants for Benediction (Tantum Ergo, Te Deum, Anima Christi, O Salutaris Hostia, Pange Lingua, Panis Angelicus). The Gregorian chant trainor will be Mr. Carlos Babiano of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Parish, Quezon City. The choir training will be held within or close to Ateneo.

The aim of ALMS is to give greater glory to God by making the Latin mass in both ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite available to many, as envisioned by Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium:

  1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. (Art. 36.1)
  2. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. (Art 116)

If you wish to know more about the ALMS-sponsored activities, follow us in Facebook: Ateneo Latin Mass Society. Click the “Like” button, so that you can post your comments.

Those interested to join the sacristan and choir training may wish to directly contact the ALMS Coordinator:

Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr.
Space Environment Research Center (SERC) Subcenter
Ionosphere Research Building
Manila Observatory
Tel. No. 426-6001 local 4850

Ateneo Latin Mass Society: Mission and Vision


Mission and Vision

Ateneo Latin Mass Society (ALMS) is an association in Ateneo de Manila University which seeks to give greater glory to God by making the most beautiful celebration of the Roman Rite in Latin in both ordinary and extraordinary forms available to all.

To accomplish this, the ALMS shall do the following:

  1. Foster the use of Latin in the Roman Rite as mandated by Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium

  2. Promote both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite, but with a preferential option for the extraordinary form in the Ignatian tradition of magis and excellence

  3. Train choir groups who can perfectly sing all the chants in Liber Usualis, in obedience to the mandate of Vatican II’s Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy that the Gregorian Chant should be given pride of place in the Roman Liturgy

  4. Train sacristan groups who knows by heart the responses and rubrics of both the ordinary and extraordinary masses in all seasons of the year.

  5. Train Jesuit seminarians, deacons, and priests in the words, rubrics, and chants in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite

  6. Teach the congregation how to pray the rosary in Latin and how to chant the responses in missa cantata

  7. Provide the most exquisite vessels and vestments for any Jesuit priest who wishes to say the Latin Mass

  8. Promote Jesuit vocations, novenas to Jesuit saints, and prayers for the souls of living and dead Jesuits.

  9. Establish the Institute for Latin Studies for the study of the classical, medieval, and ecclessiastical Latin literature, especially those written by Jesuit saints and scholars.

  10. Promote the use of Gothic and Romanesque church architecture for the Roman Rite.

  11. Promote the Spirtual Exercises of St. Ignatius

  12. Promote St. Ignatius’s Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Church.

  13. Establish Latin Mass Societies in all Ateneo schools and form a worldwide Latin Mass Society of Jesuit Schools

  14. Coordinate with the Jesuit hierarchy and Church hierarchy in promoting the use of the Latin and Gregorian chant in all Jesuit schools and in all parishes.

  15. Promote Jesuit spirituality through the Sodality of our Lady and the Devotion to the Sacred Heart.