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: