Rorate Caeli

Pontifical Mass (Novus Ordo) in Latin and ad orientem in the Philippines

Last December 13, the memorial of St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, Msgr. Angel Hobayan DD, the Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Catarman, offered Mass in Latin and ad orientem according to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The site of the Pontifical Mass was at the San Juan Pinaglabanan church in San Juan, Metro Manila (Archdiocese of Manila). The occasion was the fist-ever national Catholic Apologetics Convention in the Philippines, and the graduation of the students who had attended a comprehensive Apologetics Seminar over 13 Saturdays. Organizing all these was the Defensores Fidei Foundation (DFF). Concelebrating with Msgr. Hobayan was DFF Associate, Fr. Abraham Arganiosa, who offers the Sunday EF Mass in Sorsogon province in the Philippines. Master of Ceremonies was Fr. Carlos Estrada of Opus Dei; an Opus Dei center also graciously lent its beautiful and massive Latin altar missal (Missale Romanum 2002) for the occasion. The reading, Gospel and General Intercessions alone were said in the vernacular. A tiny but youthful schola sang the Propers of the Mass from the 1974 Graduale Romanum.

I am certain that not a few of our readers will question the number of candles and the lack of an altar crucifix. The church in question had a set of four tall gold-painted candlesticks, but two of these were found to be damaged, and so were not used. In addition to these two candlesticks, there were also two lampposts (each with a candle inside) flanking the altar, thus adding up to four candles – not ideal, but sufficient for the weekday Pontifical Mass. The church had not used an altar crucifix for a long time, and available crucifixes were too small in comparison to the available candlesticks. At any rate, there was a large crucifix on the apse wall overlooking the altar (see the next photo) and this was judged to be enough to satisfy the rubrics. There was also a shortage of servers (e.g. no dedicated mitre and crozier bearers), but this did not deter Defensores from pushing ahead with the Mass. Msgr. Hobayan showed great enthusiasm for the Mass and his willingness (even eagerness) to offer Mass in Latin and ad orientem made all the difference.
The Latin Novus Ordo is exceedingly rare in the Philippines outside of the oratories of Opus Dei, and for most of the Catholic apologists and apologetics students who attended this Mass, this was their first time to attend a Mass in Latin (at any rate, since the mid-1960’s). Some later confessed to feeling a “holy terror” at seeing the bishop facing the altar and intoning everything in Latin.
In his homily, Msgr. Hobayan delivered a strong defense of the place of Latin in Catholic liturgical life.
Other pictures of the Mass:

Communicants received the Body of Our Lord kneeling and on the tongue:


  1. Oh wow. Mutton done up as lamb.

  2. Anonymous10:56 AM

    I fail to understand why we as (traditional) Roman Catholics should rejoice over this? I thought Rorate Caeli was not a 'reform of the reform' blog, but a traditional newssource. This is the Novus Ordo Missae of Bugnini, with the same texts and the same theological problems, in the Latin language and in the 'high church' style. I was in Sweden last November, and their Lutheran ministers also offer the Holy Supper of the Lord 'ad-orientem'. Maybe I should make a report on that next time?

    God bless you all and a blessed Christmas!

  3. So, Mr. Wojtiech, are you saying Rorate should not have reported on what Cardinal Cañizares Llovera said about kneeling for Communion and Communion on the tongue?

  4. Anonymous3:07 PM

    What the Cardinal says about kneeling and Holy Communion on the tongue means nothing, if it is not followed through with a mandate from Pope Benedict XVI supressing the "pastoral option" of Holy Communion in the hand and standing.

    And we all know that that ain't about to happen!!

  5. I must say that I too have wondered at what direction the Rorate blog is taking (in a polite way).

    We must remember that the Ottaviani Intervention, was a criticism of the New Mass in it's most Roman form: Latin, ad orientem, Eucharistic prayer 1, etc.

  6. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Three cheers for Rorate reporting on good things for the whole Church--even if they aren't about Traditionalists.

    If the Missal of Paul VI is flawed, it is not invalid, so improving the ars celebrandi for the 90percent of the world who assist at it is a good. And that improvement will open people to the question of the Missals. Don't treat those in the Reform-of-the-Reform as enemies even if you think they are wrong.

  7. I was also in Sweden Last November 24-December 6, 2008 I observe their Lutheran Mass and their Churches, mind you there were altars set up as ad orientem. They are more careful in preserving their heritage. They still have ad orientem altars attached o the wall and those medieval style communion railings.

  8. Anonymous12:32 AM

    It makes sense to me to report a New Mass ad-orientem. It great news for tradition. The Vatican II reforms of the New Mass were not introduced immediately. It was a gradual process, and so the return to tradition will have to develop in simlar fashion. Drastic changes will only cause confusion among the faithful who are largely ignorant to tradition.

  9. Anonymous12:43 AM

    The New Mass is flawed, but good things like a Ad Orientem N.O. Mass will lead many people on the right road to Tradition.

    If only all Novus Ordo Masses were like this. The Pope should mandate this, just for the sake of getting the faithful out of their slumber and restoring faith.

  10. Anonymous1:21 PM

    Yes, with the greatest respect to New Catholic, I too am somewhat disappointed with the direction this blog has taken recently. This is all the more sad since Rorate has been an important source for intelligent traditional Catholics on the web for some years now. Less newsworthy items, censored comments boxes, disappearance of informed commentators and a new tiresome antagonistic contributor. Nevetheless, I would like to thank New Catholic for his efforts and hope that this is just a temporary lull and not a sign of terminal decline.

  11. Thank you.

    The comment boxes are not "censored"; they had to be moderated after months of great effort in trying to keep them open.

    As for the lack of news posts, I concur: but that is caused by the lack of newsworthy information. It really has never been the purpose of this blog to post all kinds of Catholic news - but only those that are of interest to Traditional Catholics and that are underreported or misrepresented elsewhere.

    And there is not much that can be done when the usual sources are silent, or when news from the Vatican itself are nearly irrelevant - for instance, the fact that the Pope intends to celebrate the New Mass ad orientem once in a while is not newsworthy now as it was when he first did it (and when it might have seemed as a permanent new orientation); or yesterday's Christmas address to the Curia, which was far from being a road map, as his 2005 address seemed at the time.

  12. Anonymous4:49 PM

    I would submit that we have entered a time where reform back to tradition has been given to the grass roots of the Church to enact, be it encouraging the FSSP and its brethren institutes or pushing ahead with the 'reform of the reform' given that the 1970 Missal (and its successors) for all intents and purposes is what most Latin Rite Catholics know.

    People out there are doing their best in the circumstances they find themselves in to move back to tradition one step at a time. I find it sad that reports of these people persevering are viewed by so-called traditional Catholics as nothing better than Swedish Lutherans playacting in their pretty medieval churches.

    Jesus Christ didn't wave a magic wand and set Himself up as king over all the world; rather, He gave Himself up and ended up dying on a Cross. It is interesting that any news other than the Pope waving a wand and declaring that it's 1962 all over again is met with derision.

  13. As for my participation at Rorate, I try not to be antagonistic, but I admit I can be tiresome, even exasperating.

  14. Anonymous8:50 PM

    Must have really been something else back in the day, because I truly enjoy this site now and check it every day with great eagerness. I have no trouble scanning past the posts that don't interest me, of course. And some of these tradition-challenged comments draw excellent responses that contain details I've never found elsewhere. God be with you, New Catholic.

  15. Anonymous1:08 PM

    Opus Dei - Novus Ordo - Big sigh, big sigh !


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