Rorate Caeli

You Report: Traditional Masses around the World - XII
Long Island, a Cradle of Tradition

Our readers Ed Casey and Joe Cullen send us a most detailed report from a Traditional Mass community in the Diocese of Rockville Centre (Long Island, New York):

The importance of Tradition in the Long Island, N.Y. Diocese of Rockville Centre was recognized at a Tridentine Mass on Sunday, March 9, when Bishop William F. Murphy was on hand for his first pastoral visit to the Diocese's original Latin Mass indult community - a visit that, he promised, "won't be my last."

While he was officially on hand to confer the title of monsignor upon Father James F. Pereda, Judicial Vicar for the Diocese and a local champion of the Latin Mass, Bishop Murphy also seemed to signal his embrace of the Latin Mass's new status in the Church.

The extraordinary form of the Roman Rite is now celebrated at four locations in the diocese and Bishop Murphy has permitted and helped facilitate the training of diocesan priests for celebration of the old Mass.

Sunday's ceremony took place at the former St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary, where Msgr. Pereda has been the regular celebrant of the Latin Mass for more than a decade, and where he began his studies for the priesthood.

Long Island has always demonstrated a definite interest in the Latin Mass that probably cannot be matched by any other diocese in the U.S. - a statement that can be illustrated by recalling Long Island's role in the history of the the traditional resurgence, including the unapproved variety. The late Father Gommer De Pauw set up his "Catholic Traditionalist Movement" and Ave Maria Chapel here immediately after Vatican II without local episcopal approval.

The irregular Society of St. Pius X was quick to establish a chapel here, and SSPX founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was a frequent visitor, celebrating mass confirmations in large rented venues. It was also on Long Island that the Society of St. Pius V was founded in a break with the SSPX. Other independent chapels dot the area, making Bishop Murphy's solicitude for Traditionalists of his diocese - the seventh largest in the U.S, -- especially valuable for the future.

At Sunday's Mass, the bishop participated, in choir, along with several distinguished senior clergy from the diocese, some younger priests, and representatives of at least four religious communities, including the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, a teaching order, and the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The homilist, Msgr Charles L. Sangermano of Holy Saviour Church in Norristown, PA , a friend of Msgr. Pereda's, earlier this year taught a six-week program for priests on the Extraordinary Form offered by the Theological Institute at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, PA.
Music for the Mass was provided by a large group of teenagers, Our Lady of the Angels Girls' Choir together with Saint Anthony's High School Gregorian Schola, under the direction of Br. Joshua DiMauro, OSF, assisted by Dominican Sr. Marilyn Pfriender, organist.

The chapel was filled to capacity with young men standing along the sides as the pews were filled to capacity. Many families with young children greeted Bishop Murphy during the reception.

It was enormously gratifying to many at this Tridentine Liturgy to see their shepherd process into the chapel, led by 11 young men serving as master of ceremonies, thurifer, crucifer, acolytes, torchbearers, and assistants; more than a dozen priests, Msgr. Pereda, and then the bishop.

Msgr. Pereda spoke at the reception about this day not being merely honoring a single priest but rather honoring the Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ and celebrating the communion in charity that Traditionalists enjoy with the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle. He thanked Bishop Murphy for requesting the papal honors for him, but was most grateful for his being a true father to him and to the Latin Mass community, and for never failing in his example of priestly zeal and holiness.
Mass in the Extraordinary form is currently offered within the diocese on a weekly basis at Saint Pius X Chapel, Uniondale; St. Matthew's, Dix Hills; Sacred Heart, Cutchogue; and at Our Lady of Lourdes, Malverne. This is a change in the post-Summorum Pontificum landscape as, in less than six months, we moved from one weekly and one monthly Traditional Latin Mass to the four weekly Masses we now have.

In light of the half-dozen or so young diocesan priests newly trained to offer the 1962 Missale Romanum, the outlook is positive for the growth of Latin Mass communities. History tells us that there is a fervent desire on the part of the Long Island faithful for Tradition - a desire that has now been met with active parochial and episcopal support and approval.

Ave, Sancta Dei Genitrix

Deus, qui de beatæ Mariæ Virginis utero Verbum tuum, Angelo nuntiante, carnem suscipere voluisti: præsta supplicibus tuis; ut, qui vere eam Genitricem Dei credimus, ejus apud te intercessionibus adjuvemur. Per eumdem Dominum... (Collect of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "O God, who didst will that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an Angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliant people, that we who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee. Through the same Lord...")

He saw the reasonable race, the race of men that, like Himself, expressed the Father's Mind, wasting out of existence, and death reigning over all in corruption. He saw that corruption held us all the closer, because it was the penalty for the Transgression; He saw, too, how unthinkable it would be for the law to be repealed before it was fulfilled.

He saw how unseemly it was that the very things of which He Himself was the Artificer should be disappearing. He saw how the surpassing wickedness of men was mounting up against them; He saw also their universal liability to death. All this He saw and, pitying our race, moved with compassion for our limitation, unable to endure that death should have the mastery, rather than that His creatures should perish and the work of His Father for us men come to nought, He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own.

Nor did He will merely to become embodied or merely to appear; had that been so, He could have revealed His divine majesty in some other and better way. No, He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a spotless, stainless virgin, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man. He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt.
Saint Athanasius
On the Incarnation

Saudi Expert: If Pope wants churches in Saudi Arabia, he must recognize Muhammad

Interreligious "dialogue", anyone?

But then, why would the Saudis bother to allow us a church when they've got complete freedom to set up mosques all over Europe and the United States?

From the Pakistani Christian Post:

Saudi Arabia: No churches unless prophet Mohammed recognised, says expert

Riyadh: March 29, 2008.No churches should be permitted in Saudi Arabia, unless Pope Benedict XVI recognised the prophet Mohammed, according to a Middle East expert.

While Saudi mediators are working with the Vatican on negotiations to allow places of religious worship, some experts believe it will not occur without this recognition.

Anwar Ashiqi, president of the Saudi centre for Middle East strategic studies, endorsed this view in an interview on the site of Arab satellite TV network, al-Arabiya on Thursday.

"I haven taken part in several meetings related to Islamic-Christian dialogue and there have been negotiations on thisissue," he said.

"It would be possible to launch official negotiations to construct a church in Saudi Arabia only after the Pope and all the Christian churches recognise the prophet Mohammed."

"If they don`t recognise him as a prophet, how can we have a church in the Saudi kingdom?" Ashiqi`s comments came after a declaration launched by the papal nuncio of the Persian Gulf, the archbishop Mounged El-Hachem, at the opening of the first Catholic church in Qatar last week.

The prelate had announced the launch of "treaties to construct a church in Saudi Arabia where it is banned to practise whatever religion they want outside Islam".

El-Hachem estimated three to four million Christians in the Saudi kingdom who want to have a church.

A member of Saudi Arabia`s Consultative Council, Abdelaziz al-Thinani, rejected the prelate`s claims saying that there were no Christians among the Saudis who were all Muslims.

"Those few Christians do not reside in the country permanently, they come and go," he said. He denied there were four million Christians in the kingdom and said the issue of human rights should not be used to call for the construction of a Christian church.

Most of Saudi Arabia`s Christians are foreign workers. There are 8.2 million foreign workers in a country of 25.6 million people according to a report by the Saudi Labour Ministry.

Chasuble of note

This beautiful chasuble was made in the early 20th century, but is a careful reproduction of the form of chasuble found in the Rhineland in the 15th century. The chasuble is made of crimson velvet on a base of straw-coloured silk twill. It is ornamented with extraordinary orphreys of woven silk, which are in places embroidered. The design is closely based on 15th century Rhenish models.

The photographs shew the back of the chasuble featuring the Gabelkreuz or forked Cross orphrey, depicting the crucifixion. A close-up shews the figures of Saint John and the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross. The front of the chasuble is ornamented with a column orphrey in the same fabric, but ornamented with figures of the Passion and a phrase from Venantius Fortunatus' Pange lingua gloriosi. An embroidery from the front of the chasuble is also shewn.

The provenance of the chasuble is uncertain. It would appear to have been made for Feasts of the Holy Cross, since the basic colour of the fabric is a deep red.

Medieval Catholic Treasures on the Web

Mr. Daniel Mitsui (The Lion & the Cardinal), has made available in his personal website transcripts and fac-simile images of some of the most important works of Medieval Christendom, including the Speculum Humanae Salvationis - a familiar title for all those who have admired the most intricate illuminations of Western art.

This admirable effort is an ongoing project by Mr. Mitsui to bring important Medieval reference works to the web; keep visiting his page for updates.

Holy Week in Melbourne, Part III

We are pleased to conclude this series of photographs of Holy Week from the Church of Saint Aloysius in Caulfield (Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia) with images shewing the various parts of the Easter Vigil. The thriving Old Mass Community at Caulfield is under the patronage of His Grace, the Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Rev'd Denis Hart. The ceremonies at Caulfield were celebrated according to the 1962 Missale Romanum by Fathers Glen Tattersall and John McDaniels.


At the "Lumen Christi":

At the Exsultet:

During the singing of the Prophecies:

At the Blessing of the Baptismal Water:

During the Renewal of Baptismal Promises:

During the chanting of the Litanies:

The Easter Mass:

At the Gospel:

At the Offertory:

At the Preface:

New Turn of Events: Amato probable new Prefect of Divine Worship?

Months after the current Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Arinze, reached the retiring age of 75, a new name for his replacement is being mentioned as probable: Archbishop Angelo Amato, SDB, 70, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under both Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Levada - and not the current Secretary of Divine Worship, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, 60.

Andrea Tornielli reports on the latest rumors, and adds that Amato's probable substitute would be the well known President of the Pontifical Lateran University, Bishop Salvatore (Rino) Fisichella, 56.

Did Ranjith speak too much, too soon?

Unauthorized Episcopal Consecrations in Ukraine

News is now spreading of the consecration shortly before March 23 -- Easter Sunday according to the Gregorian Calendar -- of four Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests as bishops, without being nominated by the Major Archbishop of Kyiv and head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), Lubomyr Cardinal Husar, and without receiving the necessary Papal blessing.

The UGCC has issued a communique condemning the consecrations. At present, secrecy and uncertainty cover the identity of the consecrating bishop. Some have even questioned whether this bishop (whoever he is) is a real, validly consecrated bishop in the first place. (However, it does not seem likely that these four bishops would have sought consecration from a bishop of doubtful orders.) Speculation on the identity of the consecrating bishop currently centers on Michailo Osidach, who claims to have been clandestinely consecrated by the late Metropolitan Volodymyr Sterniuk C.SS.R. during the Soviet era.

This comes a little more than four months after the excommunication of Fr. Basil Kovpak, founder and head of the Society of St. Josaphat (SSJK), a Ukrainian Greek Catholic society of priests which is currently associated with the Society of St. Pius X. Fr. Kovpak was excommunicated by Cardinal Husar for attending the ordination of two SSJK priests and five SSJK deacons by SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson.

While the two events do not seem to be related, both have their roots in the same controversies now shaking the UGCC. In their Open Letter to the Holy Father the new bishops profess filial devotion to Rome while justifying their consecration as a necessary action in the face of the alleged modernism and hyper-ecumenism of the current Major Archbishop. In particular, they denounce the Balamand Agreement of 1993, which rejected Uniatism as a model for the future. They also condemn what they consider to be the schismatic and apostate attitudes of the Cardinal Husar and of the UGCC hierarchy, as well as the negative attitude being shown within the UGCC to Latin devotions such as the Rosary, Way of the Cross, Devotion to the Sacred Heart, etc. The letter also declares that theological modernism is beginning to pervade the UGCC and speaks of its "practical schism" from the rest of the Catholic Church. The letter, thus, reveals a theological and spiritual position that is identical at least in certain important points with that of the SSJK.

These consecrations seem to be the latest sad chapter in the theological and liturgical debates currently besetting Ukrainian Greek Catholicism (as well as certain other Byzantine-Rite Catholic Churches). One of the important issues around which these debates revolve, is the question of whether the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church should return to a purely Byzantine liturgy and theology and should attempt to be as close to Eastern Orthodoxy as possible (even sharing the same theology -- a position that Cardinal Husar has publicly endorsed while expressing his belief in the necessity of communion with Rome), or whether it must keep the Latin elements that were introduced from the 17th to the early 20th centuries into the UGCC's liturgy and spiritual life, and continue to emphasize its Catholic identity and mission vis-a-vis Ukrainian and Russian Orthodoxy.

More analysis of this event can be found here.

Sydney Church for Juventutem

Juventutem Australia is pleased to announce that Saint Augustine's church, Balmain has been chosen to host the Juventutem program during WYD 2008 in Sydney.

Saint Augustine's is well-located near Sydney city and harbour and will provide an excellent venue for the Juventutem liturgical program and music workshops.

For further information about the church and photos of its history and architecture go here.

Castrillón speaks:
On the SSPX: "Discussions may take place inside the Church"

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, spoke today to the Vatican daily, L'Osservatore Romano, on the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and related matters.

Castrillón has some stern words for those who have used wrong terms without clear knowledge of the matter and, then, his most important answer, regarding future events.

[L'Osservatore Romano:] How is a return to "full communion" possible for excommunicated persons?

[Castrillón:] The excommunication applies only to the four bishops, because they were ordained without the mandate of the Pope and against his will, while the priests are only suspended. The Mass they celebrate is undoubtedly valid, but not licit, and, thus, participation is not advised, unless there are no other possibilities on Sunday. Certainly, neither the priests nor the faithful are excommunicates. I wish, speaking of this, to repeat the importance of a clear knowledge of things in order to be able to judge them correctly.

[L'Osservatore Romano:] Don't you fear that the attempt to wish to bring back to the Church men and women who do not recognize the Second Vatican Council may provoke an aversion among those faithful who instead see Vatican II as a compass for navigation in the barque of Peter, particularly in these times of continuous changes?

[Castrillón:] First of all, the problem regarding the Council is not, in my opinion, as grave as it might seem. In fact, the Bishops of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, headed by Bishop Bernard Fellay, have expressly recognized Vatican II as an Ecumenical Council and Bishop Fellay reasserted it in a meeting with John Paul II and, more explicitly, in the audience of August 29, 2005, with Benedict XVI. Nor can it be forgotten that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre signed all Council documents.

I believe that their criticism of the Council is related mostly with the clarity of some texts, in the absence of which the path is opened to interpretations not in agreement with Traditional doctrine. The greatest difficulties are of interpretive character and are related even to some gestures of the ecumenical level, but not with the doctrine of Vatican II. It is a matter of theological discussions, which may take place inside the Church, where, in fact, there are several interpretive discussions of the Conciliar texts, discussions which may continue even with the groups which return to full communion.

The second phase of the One-Two-Three Strategy seems to be taking shape.

Holy Week in Melbourne, Australia Part II

These are photos of the ceremonies of Good Friday from the Church of Saint Aloysius, Caulfield, under the patronage of His Grace, the Archbishop of Melbourne. The ceremonies of Holy Week according to the 1962 Missale Romanum were celebrated by Fathers Tattersall and McDaniels. They were assisted in the chanting of the Passion on Good Friday by Father Laurence Cross.

Technical difficulties required photos to be removed from the previous post: apologies.

GOOD FRIDAY: The Stations of the Cross

GOOD FRIDAY: Solemn Commemoration of the Lord's Passion and Death

Oration between the Prophecies:

Chanting of the Passion:

At the Bidding Prayers:

At the "Ecce Lignum Crucis":

The veneration of the Cross:

At the "Domine, non sum dignus":

Brussels: From Merovingian to Mohammedan

According to a report in Le Figaro, the Belgian capital – seat of the European Union, Nato, and several other international organizations – is nearing the completion of a historic cycle from Christianity to Islam. Below is my translation of the story.

Islam to be primary religion in Brussels within twenty years

Today, one third of the population is Muslim and younger generations are more religiously active.

The European capital will be Muslim in twenty years. At least this is what is confirmed by a study published last week in the daily La Libre Belgique. According to Olivier Servais, a sociologist at the Catholic University of Louvain, nearly a third of the population of Brussels is already Muslim and, due to their high birth rate, practitioners of Islam should be in the majority "in fifteen or twenty years". Since 2001, Mohamed has consistently been by far the most popular first name given to boys born in Brussels.

"You have to put these figures into perspective,” insists Mahfoud Romdhani, Socialist MP and vice-president of the Brussels francophone Parliament. “Not all immigrants from Muslim countries are Muslims! I myself am Muslim culturally, yet I am agnostic. Olivier Servais needs to be cautious about long-term projections since Brussels, as the capital of the European Union, undergoes significant population fluctuations.”

Albeit that, according to La Libre Belgique, "even if their parents were not religious," in order to facilitate integration in their host country, "the youth show a significant return to religious practice." Some 75% of Muslims consider themselves practicing today. Flemish journalist Hind Fraihi, author of Infiltrée parmi les Islamistes Radicaux, goes further: "Young people are increasingly radicalized," she says. “They reject Western values - which even worries their parents. In Brussels there are enclaves such as Molenbeek, where one sometimes finds it hard to believe he is in Belgium…”

From the Tafoukte bazaar to the Mohammed jewelry store, music of the Maghreb captivates the passerby. Lined with multicolored plastic buckets, sneakers, and shimmering caftans, the pedestrian zone of the Prado leads to the administrative building of Molenbeek - the Moroccan district of Brussels. Almost all women are veiled and the merchants speak Arabic. "You feel better here than in France or Spain,” says Akim, manager of a clothing store, “Maybe because we are such a large community. It's like a country of itself!"

"Gestures of respect"

Several years ago” says Philippe Moureaux, commissioner of Molenbeek, “Muslims sought me out. They wanted me to be the "president" of their new mosque…." That means that the former minister, although himself agnostic, is well-received by the "large third" of the 83,000 Muslims among its citizens. Creating an advisory council of mosques with local funds, opening of a municipal slaughterhouse during the feast of sacrifice, presentation of an electoral ballot with a majority of Muslims… "These are gestures of respect which have earned me the trust of this community," says the commissioner. “We were very far, some say too far, but for me the only solution is openness."

According to Alain Escada, president of the Belgium and Christianity association, "We continue to surrender more and more. More and more cafeterias introduce halal menus at the expense of Christians” he says with regret. “The authorities no longer do their jobs: politicians with a short-term vision are desperate to attract a new electorate, but also the clergy who place Muslims on equal footing with Christians even though they cannot expect anything in return. Look at this archbishop who was just murdered in Iraq!"

For the moment, "the essence of Belgian Islam is peaceful and familial,” insists Olivier Servais, “but one day there may be a clear claim to Islam. I do not exclude the social ramifications." He fears that some communitarian parties could capitalize on the very high rate of unemployment in Brussels (over 20% of the population) which affects the Muslim population in particular.

Jean-Francois Bastin, a 65 year old Belgian sporting a checkered turban and a henna-dyed beard, is known today as Abu Abdullah Abdulaziz Bastin. A convert to Islam, in 2004 he founded the Young Muslim Party. Abdullah does not shake the hands of women. "It deceives Allah,” he said. “It also deceives the one to whom the hand is offered into believing that you are equal. But I will offer you a big smile!" he quickly added.


He himself says that the smiles which some politicians give to Muslims are only a "huge instrumentalization: There is enough of this kind of neocolonialism,” he said. “They claim that they are going to defend us and then they forbid headscarves in schools." In the last municipal elections, the Young Muslim Party, which is represented in only two districts of Brussels, garnered less than 5000 votes. "We can use this as a foundation to require more visible mosques, calls to prayer, cemeteries, schools, retirement homes…” says the convert. “I say to the Muslims: ‘Lose this spirit of the colonized! Colonizers have been expelled from Algeria; perhaps that can happen here’.” "Immigrants," he concludes, “have had enough and maybe ‘too much’ of integration. It is now time for Belgium to adapt."

Holy Week in Melbourne, Australia Part I

We are pleased to be able to post this series of photographs of Holy Week from the Church of Saint Aloysius in Caulfield (Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia). The thriving Old Mass Community at Caulfield is under the patronage of His Grace, the Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Rev'd Denis Hart. The ceremonies at Caulfield were celebrated according to the 1962 Missale Romanum by Fathers Glen Tattersall and John McDaniels. On Palm Sunday and Good Friday, the Fathers were assisted in the chanting of the Passion by Fathers Nicholas Dillon and Laurence Cross.


Blessing of Palms and Solemn Procession:


Extinguishing candles at the hearse:

MAUNDY THURSDAY: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

At the Mandatum:

At the Stripping of the Altars:

A man worthy of remembrance

17 years ago, Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre died in Martigny, Switzerland, on March 25, 1991. Regardless of one's opinion of some events of his life, or of some of his decisions, or of some of his stronger words, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that without him the struggle for the preservation of much of what we cherish would probably have been lost. The fact that 17 years after his death "the question of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre" is still discussed in the highest halls of the Church, that his name is still mentioned among the words included in some of the gravest decisions of the Supreme Authority of the Church (cf. Letter to Bishops regarding the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum), and that the universal Church experiences in our age the great impact of the publication and implementation, not without hurdles, of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum show that the global movement for the advancement of the Traditional Roman Rite is inseparably linked to the life of this passionate man, whose name still causes passionate discussions.

Holy Week (1962 Missal) in the Philippines: A Personal Account

This past Holy Week, the Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy (PLDM) in the Diocese of Cubao celebrated the principal rites of Palm Sunday and the Sacred Triduum according to the Missal of 1962. A few other ceremonies were celebrated according to the Missal of 1970, but in the spirit of the “Reform of the Reform.”

The celebrant was Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo, a young priest who has regularly celebrated the Traditional Mass since 1997 and who has been the parish priest of PLDM since 2007. Since September 2007, Fr. Zerrudo has effectively transformed PLDM into a biritual parish. Daily Low Mass and Sunday and Feast Day Missa Cantadas according to the 1962 Missal are celebrated in addition to the regular daily and Sunday schedule of Novus Ordo Masses, the latter celebrated with worthy vestments and on a “Benedictine” altar.

The decision to celebrate Holy Week according to the 1962 Missal was made shortly before Passion Sunday. As far as we knew, no regular parish in the Philippines had celebrated Holy Week according to the classical Roman Rite since 1970 – and now, we had little more than a week to plan everything! Fortunately, we had the advice of the elderly Msgr. Moises Andrade, a great lover of the Traditional liturgy, and of an ex-SSPX seminarian who acted as MC. Our Sunday TLM cantor, Felix Valenzuela, had a great love and knowledge of Gregorian chant and was able to train other singers in time to form a schola for Holy Week. I myself acted as crucifer and as one of the main servers during the ceremonies, while helping to visualize and plan the ceremonies beforehand.

The “Traditional community” and the regular parishioners of PLDM had led separate lives (so to speak) up to this time, save for the fact that they were served by the same priest. Since this Holy Week was going to be for both communities, a modus vivendi to enable the regular parishioners not to feel left out was reached. Roles were assigned to representatives of both communities: for example, after the chanting of each Latin reading from the Epistle side of the sanctuary, an English translation of the same was read from a side lectern (outside the sanctuary) by one of the regular lay lectors. While most of the propers were chanted by the schola for the Traditional Mass, the regular parish choirs sang a few of the propers as well Latin hymns for the Communion rites. Finally, for the Easter Vigil, the schola and the parish choirs sang as one. Servers of both the TLM and the regular parish NOM joined forces for the ceremonies of Holy Week. Given that many of the latter group had not even seen a Traditional Mass before, this was no mean feat. The parish office also printed hundreds of special missalettes with English translations of the ceremonies. Since not everybody could have a missalette, the text of some of the ceremonies were also projected on a screen to the right of the altar.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday’s procession and principal Mass was celebrated in the morning according to the 1962 Missal, but with the Gloria Laus ceremony at the door of the church inserted into the rites. (This ceremony had been removed in 1955.) Since the choir for the procession was made up of young girls dressed as angels, the decision was made to make them sing only selected antiphons (in Latin) from the processional chants, using simplified melodies belonging to the Tridentine-era Philippine tradition of sacred music. This was one of the “compromises” that had been decided on, so that both communities could take part in the Rites. In accordance with centuries-old Philippine tradition, the churchgoers brought their own palms, which Fr. Zerrudo blessed by going around the whole church sprinkling the palms with holy water; only coconut leaf crosses (to be affixed to the palms) were distributed at the altar rail during the blessing of palms prior to the procession.

A few minutes after this Mass ended, Fr. Zerrudo celebrated a second Palm Sunday Mass according to the 1970 Missal (in English), but ad orientem and with a glorious Roman chasuble.

Every night from Palm Sunday to Holy Wednesday, penitential processions with life-sized statues of saints, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Lord in His Passion were held in the streets surrounding the parish church.

Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are national holidays in the Philippines, and as in other parishes, the PLDM church was packed to overflowing for the principal rites. It was a relief to note that the use of Latin had not scared people away, and even attracted additional attendees.
The foot washing was no mere ceremony: the twelve viri selecti (or apostoles, as we call them) were very poor men whose legs were encrusted with dirt and mud, and their right feet really had to be scrubbed with soap before being kissed. For a quarter of an hour, these men were the most important in the whole parish. Afterwards, they had the honor of holding the canopy for the Blessed Sacrament during the procession to the altar of repose. After the procession to the altar of repose, people began leaving the Church. I had to run to a lectern to tell people that the ceremonies were not yet over, whereupon the crowd obediently went back to their seats. Soon afterwards, the Stripping of the Altars was held. The night was spent by the faithful doing the traditional Visita Iglesia (visiting the traditional seven churches on Maundy Thursday night) to venerate the Blessed Sacrament in various altars of repose.

Good Friday

Good Friday was the best-attended ceremony, with the crowd flowing out of the church and way into the streets around it. The Passion was chanted by Fr. Zerrudo, Fr. Froilan Rivera (of the Prelature of Infanta) and the cantor Felix Valenzuela (who sang the role of Cronista). In the Philippines it has ever been the custom for laymen (even prior to Vatican II) to act as deacons of the Passion and even to vest as deacon and/or subdeacon for the chanting of the Passion. This was due to the severe shortage of clergy with which our country has always been afflicted. In consultation with Msgr. Moises Andrade, we decided to follow this custom in the case of the Cronista as we couldn’t find a cleric able to take on this role. However, the cantor vested only in cassock and surplice, not in alb (as would have been the practice prior to Vatican II). Fr. Rivera was completely new to the Traditional Rite, but after a whole night of rehearsing and of rigorous tutoring by Mr. Valenzuela, was able to sing the role of Synagoga very well.

Initially, we servers tried to get the people to do the traditional genuflection before kissing the feet of the Crucified. However, due to the size of the crowd (there were nearly a thousand people that day) a surge forward to venerate the Cross was inevitable, depriving the people in front of any space in which to genuflect. To our amazement, the people in front – without any prompting – spontaneously began to crawl on their knees to the cross. This had the effect of slowing down the surge while allowing people to express their reverence to the cross. Many people also left their footwear at the pews and went barefoot. The adoration of the Cross took so long that, after singing all the prescribed chants in the 1961 Liber Usualis, the schola still had the time -- and the excuse -- to sing the Vexilla Regis (whose liturgical use in Good Friday disappeared in 1955). After Vexilla had been sung, we told the large number of people still crawling on their knees to go back to their seats and to adore the Cross after Communion. Some went back, but others continued to crawl to the Cross – how can you stop such piety? And so the schola chanted another Crucem Tuam, after which a substantial period of silence ensued to let some more people adore the Cross.

In a traditional Philippine Holy Week, all of Good Friday is taken up in devotional and paraliturgical ceremonies, and PLDM was no exception to this. The only difference is that the priest vested in black cope rather than in red. While some people resumed venerating the Cross after the service of Good Friday, a penitential procession with the purple-robed “Santo Entierro” (a recumbent statue of the Dead Christ) accompanied by richly vested statues of the Mater Dolorosa and the saints of the Passion (SS. John, Peter, Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome and others) started on its way. After the long procession ended at nearly nine in the evening, the Santo Entierro was venerated inside the church, to be followed almost immediately by a second procession with the Mater Dolorosa (the “Soledad” procession) with all the participants including Fr. Zerrudo going barefoot along the asphalt roads. The first procession had commemorated the Burial of Christ; the second procession commemorated the Blessed Virgin Mary, alone and grief-stricken, going home to St. John. The second procession ended with the recitation of the Stabat Mater and the incensing of the Mater Dolorosa. The night ended with Fr. Zerrudo hearing confessions.

Easter Sunday

Easter Vigil began at 12:15 AM of Sunday and ended at quarter to four in the morning. Because of the lateness of the hour, there were markedly less people in attendance. Nevertheless, the regular lay lectors turned out in full force, such that after the chanting of each Prophesy (and of the Epistle) in Latin, there was a different lay lector to read the English translation. [Remember the "modus vivendi" I had written about.] We had the joy of witnessing the reception of a convert into the Catholic Church, who had the additional blessing of being baptized according to the Traditional Roman Rite.

Fifteen minutes after the Vigil ended, the last major ceremony of a Philippine Holy Week began: the "Salubong" (literally “Welcome” or "Encounter"). The Salubong began with two processions – one of men accompanying the statue of the Risen Christ, and the other of women accompanying a statue of the Blessed Virgin veiled in black – meeting in front of the church. To the sound of brass bands and the cheers of the large crowd, the two statues met, whereupon a young girl dressed as an angel was lowered from a crane onto the statue of the Virgin. The “angel” lifted the black veil, revealing the Virgin Mary all radiant in white and blue. Why the Virgin, and not Mary Magdalene? This is because Philippine piety has always considered the Mother of God to be the first witness of the Resurrection, and this belief is enshrined in the Salubong ceremony. In 1971, the Congregation for Divine Worship allowed the first morning Mass of Easter in the Philippines to have the “Salubong” as its Entrance Rite. And so Salubong was followed by Fr. Zerrudo intoning the Gloria and the celebration of a Novus Ordo (English, ad populum, but very reverent) at an altar set up in front of the doors of the church. With that, Holy Week 2008 ended -- and what a historic week it was for us!

This was the first time that a regular Philippine Catholic parish had celebrated a Tridentine Holy Week since 1971, and mistakes and less-than-ideal situations were inevitable. The lack of personnel familiar with the rites and the chants also forced us to resort to certain customs that, while old and not unknown, were certainly less than ideal (for example, having a lay cantor chant the Epistles and Prophecies as well as the part of "Cronista" during Good Friday). And, to our great regret, we were not able to sing Tenebrae. It would have been brutal to make our poor cantor sing ALL of that (as the rest of the schola wasn't as yet up to the task.)

Nevertheless, judging from the feedback we got, we had succeeded in our main task: to bring the entire parish community to a deeper appreciation for the Traditional Roman Rite. While not a few were perplexed by the length and intensity of the rites and the use of Latin (a common question being: "will the sermon also be in Latin?" -- asked not in jest, but in all earnestness), others were loud in their appreciation for the reverence, solemnity and grandeur of the rites. I remember, walking by the side of the church after the rites of Maundy Thursday, hearing a woman saying aloud: "napaka-solemn, napaka-ganda" (so solemn, so beautiful!). And lest anybody wonder about the impact of the schola on everyone present: they got an invitation to sing at the birthday Mass of the local vice mayor!
By the way, I'd like to thank my friend and fellow server Gerald Cenir, from whose blog I borrowed the pictures for this post. (Gerald was thurifer for all the Holy Week ceremonies mentioned here.)