Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Christ the King Mass

Fr. Germanetto Grato, CRS, celebrated the Feast of Christ the King, October 26.

On this day, we pray for the for the conversion of all to Christ, and for all governments to recognize Him as King and conform their laws to His teachings. This is the only way to peace!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Why I want to remain a Catholic

A sharing by: Helen F

I would like to go on living with and belonging to the Catholic faith because of the ideals and virtues that the Mother Church stands for, the consistency of the moral dogma and doctrines, the proven ability, despite the human faults of past and present generations, and because of the examples of martyrs who die for their faith.

Most of all, the Catholic faith is the one handed down by the person dearest to me, my mother, and the nuns of the schools where I studied in my youth which were the most memorable periods in my life.

I still remember how we, as Catholics, expressed our devotion to our religion in the past -before the electronic age and the explosion of information technology which created new value systems among Catholics and other faiths. I remember with nostalgia the formal way we heard mass, missal in hand, dressed for church, with veils over our heads, and perhaps our rosaries in our fingers. All these endeared me to our Catholic religion even if the mass was said in Latin (with the appropriate English translation in the missal.) Those bygone days when mass was celebrated and heard by the faithful, not on the run but with proper time set aside, are memories that made, and still make me, appreciate the Catholic faith.

The example set by my mother of hearing mass everyday in the province and of being a daily communicant instilled in me a strong attachment to our faith. My mother joined several parish activities in her prime before a series of physical disabilities slowed her down and finally incapacitated her. But even these events increased our devotion and attachment to our Catholic faith. We pray the rosary with our maids since my mother can no longer go to church, and thus we evangelized the maids in the process with the help of the lay ministers in the parish who attended to her on Sundays. She heard gospel readings and received communion. Thus, through her and our collective pain, we deepened our understanding of suffering in our Catholic faith. I felt it was God’s way of guiding us through our difficulties and trials.

My husband lives and thrives in the secular world. He has worked as a trial lawyer, corporate counsel and professional manager under stressful conditions. I know that he has never wavered from our Catholic faith. Our bedroom is littered with reading materials about religious history and astronomy. By studying the immensity of the universe, he says that he sees the face and power of God as Creator of our Universe.

I am happy and fulfilled to be a Catholic. My husband and I attend the Traditional Latin Mass that has recently been restored in a nearby parish and we have sponsored the priestly vestments of a young priest who is studying to celebrate the TLM. I do not wish for more except for God to hold us, my family, and all my dear ones in the palm of His Hand.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Implementing the Motu Proprio

First, I want to begin with a note of thankfulness. We had our first Traditional Mass at St. Jerome Emiliani and Susanna Parish in Albang last June 29, 2008. The processional praise song I haven’t heard for 40 years, “Holy God We Praise Thy Name,” was a fitting reminder that the liturgy did not revolve around me and my feelings. Indeed, I owe God praise and worship which the song perfectly said for me.

I think Summorum Pontificum is a phenomenal step forward. It is true we may not have received a perfect document from the Holy Father but the long-awaited motu proprio gives every priest the right to celebrate the Mass using the 1962 Missal without the consent of a Bishop. It also instructs pastors to “willingly accept” requests from the faithful for access to the older liturgical form. The new canonical norms established by Pope Benedict took effect last September 14, 2007.

Addressing the Bishops of France on a pastoral visit recently, the Pope said:

“Liturgical worship is the supreme expression of priestly and episcopal life, and also of catechetical teaching. Your mission of sanctification of the faithful people, dear Brothers, is indispensable for the growth of the Church. I was prompted to detail, in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the conditions for the accomplishment of this mission, in that which relates to the possibility of using both the missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) and that of Pope Paul VI (1970)…”

This is our Pope addressing the progressive Bishops of France to “tolerate” the existence of the Traditional Latin Mass as part of the Church’s mission of sanctification of the faithful. Why can’t they obey the Pope as they did before with Pope Paul VI’s Novus Ordo?

For one thing, the absence of the Traditional Mass the last forty years has created a generation or two of priests that are no longer familiar with Latin and cannot celebrate the Traditional Mass. And we’ve got an entire infrastructure in the Catholic Church that is accustomed to doing things a certain way, regardless of the necessary changes that are needed in the Church as seen by the Pope.

Even where celebration of the Traditional Mass is permitted, it is at times done so grudgingly, at inconvenient times and places, accompanied by unreasonable demands, and with very little if any means of financial or other support, either at the parochial or the diocesan level. For instance, I know of a parish priest who is very good and conscientious in all respects, except maybe for one. He tells me that a regularly scheduled Traditional Mass will simply not happen on his watch, and that his parishioners who want it are free to attend it somewhere. Typical of other pastors, he is not inclined to replace a Novus Ordo Mass with a Traditional Mass.

Not surprisingly, after one year of Summorum Pontificum, there are only a handful of (regularly scheduled) Traditional Mass in the National Capital Region of the Philippines. Three, to be exact: One in Quezon City and another in Valenzuela, all celebrating at the inconvenient time of 1:30pm and 8:00pm respectively. The only public Traditional Mass being celebrated at a decent time of 9:30am every Sunday is at St. Jerome Emiliani at Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

Because there are only a few priests who can celebrate the Traditional Mass, I feel blessed that the Italian Priest of St. Jerome Emiliani and Susanna Parish, Fr. Grato Germanetto, CRS, is very supportive of the Traditional Mass. I have been active in promoting the Mass in St. Jerome Parish and our focus right now is the training of diocesan priests to celebrate the Traditional Mass. I know it is a short-term solution but until the Traditional Mass is taught in seminaries, it is necessary if we are to continue our weekly scheduled Mass.

It is not only a matter of training priests to do the Traditional Mass properly, but that of boys or men to assist the priest as altar servers. The reformed Roman Missal does not require a designated clerk for assistance; the classical Roman Missal does. The requirements for priestly vesture are also more elaborate in the classical form: cassocks, surplices, copes, chasubles, etcetera.

Since our parishioners prefer a High Mass every Sunday, we are fortunate to have a schola schooled in Gregorian chant and a cantor to lead the chants of the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, et cetera), as well as sing the propers for the Mass (Introit, Gradual, et cetera). We were able to solicit donors for a English-Latin Missalette for our parishioners. Every Sunday, we provide them with the propers of the Mass.

Realizing that the Traditional Mass is more visual than verbal, we needed to decorate the bare altar with altar clothes, candlesticks, crucifix, patens, etc. but it’s worth the effort and expense. Our altar is resplendent. Everytime I look at it I remember St. Francis who believed in poverty but he never spared the gold for the altar.

Getting past all these concerns, we have to contend with a makeover of the altar, home to the New Rite of the Mass these past forty years, around which we have to maneuver since the situation calls for co-existence between the two forms. We don’t have the luxury of a half-hour break between the previous Mass and ours. This means getting half a dozen boys to quickly re-arrange the sanctuary appointments and kneelers, only to put them all back afterwards in a timely manner.

All these involve an enormous amount of financial and human resources which the local parish cannot provide. By the grace of God, a few generous benefactors have stepped forward to extend a helping hand. We are very grateful for their help and we pray that God rewards them a hundred fold.

As a layman, I have a problem with the claim that the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Mass are part of the same rite, two expressions of the same lex credendi. How can a “banal, on the spot product” be the ordinary expression of the Roman rite? The lex orandi of the two Masses is not the same. It seems to me that we have two different versions of what we believe and how we pray. This was my sense when Fr. Grato began the Holy Sacrifice with “I shall go unto the altar of God, the God who brings joy to my youth” instead of “Good mornin’!”

Isn’t it ironic that the creators of Novus Ordo Missae admitted that what was being produced by the Consilium was substantially different than what came before?

Fr. Joseph Gelineau, S.J., Vatican II peritus and member of the Consilium, creator of the Novus Ordo wrote: … Let those who like myself have known and sung a Latin-Gregorian High Mass remember it if they can. Let them compare it with the Mass we now have. Not only the words, the melodies, and some of the gestures are different. To tell the truth, it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed... (Demain la liturgie, Paris 1976, pp.9-10).

Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, Undersecretary of Consilium, creator of the Novus Ordo also wrote: The liturgical reform is a major conquest of the Catholic Church and has its ecumenical dimensions since the other Churches and Christian denominations see in it not only something to be admired, but equally a sign of further progress to come. (Notitaie, no. 92, April 1974, p. 126).

Strange language from a Catholic Bishop.

Nevertheless, I would like to end this with a note of thankfulness for the Motu Propio and particularly to Fr. Germanetto Grato, CRS, and the participating priests, Fr. Gio Omale, Msgr. Cesar Salomon and Msgr. Guiuan for generously opening their hearts to Traditional Mass. We gratefully acknowledge the help of Fr. Abe Arganiosa, whose providential long distance telephone call to a fellow Somoscan provided the timely occasion to vouch for the legitimacy of our request for a Traditional Mass. Somebody up there is on our side! Thank you, Fr. Abe.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

TLM St. Jerome Emiliani Choir sings "Tu es sacerdo"

The Traditional Latin Mass choir serenades Fr. Grato on his feast day with a rendition of "Tu es sacerdo".

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jonathan serenades Fr. Grato

Traditional Latin Mass Altar server, 11-year-old Jonathan Gozos serenades Fr. Germanetto Grato on his feast day, September 7, with a rendition of the "Prayer" in English and Italian!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

“… I’m back in Rome but in St. Jerome!”

We take pleasure in sharing with you the letter of Mariela Corpus-Torres of Ayala Alabang Village to Fr. Grato Germanetto, CRS.


July 13, 2008

Dear Rev. Fr. Grato,

Praise the return of the Latin Mass!

An answered prayer! Thanks for making it a regular 9:30AM Mass that my kids and I look forward to “con todo gusto.” We see to it that we’re inside the church immediately after the 8:30AM Filipino Mass to be sure of our front pew for a perfect view.

I dug out our “Sunday Best” out of the baul [chest] and personally hand washed all of them for this special occasion. The velo [veil] is no more to be found. I’ll have to buy a new one or ask from my mother’s friends and relatives if they still have it.

It reminds me of my childhood—Sundays during the 1960s-1970s when I attended Mass at the Manila Cathedral or at Paco Church. It also reminded me of my stay in Rome from 1975-1978 when my late father was assigned at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO of UN), a visit to Amsterdam, and a catholic cathedral in downtown San Francisco, California, USA in 1978.

It’s so solemn…heavenly… soul searching…perfect peace…tranquil…and awesome…words cannot fully describe. It makes me think I’m back in Rome but in St. Jerome! And you’re Italian…ahh muy perfecto!! Rome is my second home! My soul lives in old Rome—that’s why I love the Traditional Latin Mass.

As compared to the regular English/Tagalog Masses, I don’t feel holy or concentrated. However, I feel more concentrated while attending your Latin Masses.

I’m inviting other friends from other cities to experience the Traditional Latin Mass in our parish. The past two Christmas Eve Latin Masses (in Novus Ordo) started it all! We welcome back the return of the Roman Catholic Traditional Mass; more so, that your church is among the first in the Philippines to do so in 2008!

Please don’t ever stop. “Once you pop you’ll always pop and hop back to old Rome in St. Jerome!”

God bless!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Inaugural Traditional Latin Mass at St. Jerome Emiliani

Pastor's Message:

P. Introibo ad altare Dei.

I will go in unto the altar of God.

S. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.

To God, the joy of my youth.

These past two Sundays (June 29 and July 6), these words in Latin resounded in our church at 9:30 am, accompanied by the beautiful and solemn Gregorian chant. They are the beginning of the Holy Mass celebrated in the Traditional Latin Rite as mandated in the 1962 Missale Romanum reformed by Pope John XXIII.

The Traditional Latin Mass was never abolished nor forbidden - just put aside to give way to the New Ordo of the Mass celebrated in Vernacular Languages and accompanied by contemporary music.

Reactions to this New Ordo have been varied in many parts of the world. Some of them with painful consequences, like the schism of the Pius X group. But it must be said very clearly that the real reason for their separation from the communion of the Roman Catholic Church has never been the new Liturgy in itself but their rejection of the whole of the Vatican II Council.

Now, exactly one year ago, the Holy FAther, Benedict XVI, promulgated the Motu Propio "Summorum Pontificum" which exhorts Bishops and Priests to heed the requests of the faithful who long for the Traditional Latin Mass.

That is why I accepted the invitation of a group of faithful from different parishes of the Diocese of Parañaque and practiced the old rite to become ready for it, while they provided me and the church with the necessary books and other paraphernalia: vestments for the celebrant and altar servers, beautiful candelabra for the altar, processional cross and torches, censer and bucket for holy water. Finally on Sunday, June 29, 2008, Solemnity of the Saints Peter and Paul, we did it.

It was a beautiful and solemn celebration, according to the many feedbacks we received after the mass. The same happened last Sunday and I hope, will happen every Sunday.

I felt so much united with the Church of today and of centuries past. The use of the language and the chant which have been used for centuries all over the world was simply thrilling. Those who did not understand Latin felt even more the solemnity and the mystery of the celebration. Thousands and thousands of saints and plain people have repeated these same words and felt so much united with God.

You are invited to participate on Sundays at 9:30 am and experience the marvelous feeling of praying with the rite our parents (for us already in age) and grandparents used during their lifetime. A useful booklet is provided to help you follow the celebration.

God bless you all and protect you from all danger of the body and soul.

Rev. Fr. Grato Germanetto, CRS
Parish Priest
St. Jerome Emiliani and St. Susanna Parish