May 24, 2024

When the holy mass was celebrated on the mountain of Teng-ab, Bontoc, Mountain Province there was the mystical experience of being with the creation of God, seen and unseen participating.
I hope “urban liturgists” will also experience such liturgy, as not to be confined in “sheer liturgy” inside the church and declare the liturgy they celebrate inside the church is the most valid one.
I was quite annoyed when some urban liturgists frequently criticized the liturgy celebrated in the hinterlands to the point of criticizing the shoes of priests and altar servers, the vestments, the use of ethnic materials, and the indigenous liturgical songs. Worse, they accused the hinterland liturgical celebrations as an abuse of liturgy.
I overheard some seminarians discussing about the songs with “Salidumay” in the holy mass as un-liturgical. They meant the songs do not have any place in the holy mass. I was hurt to learn that the advice came from professors.
I recall the beautiful “Bontoc Gloria Salidumay” being sung in Bontoc and translated by the Bontoc translation committee with the approval of the local ordinary and under the guidance of the late Bishop Francisco Claver, SJ, and now being set aside by some urban liturgists and seminaries. The indigenous songs from Bontoc were written for processionals like entrance song, presentation song, communion song, and final song.
When the ordained minister celebrates the holy mass with his stola over his sando and in short pants, that is obviously a disrespect and abuse. When the music ministry sings pop songs in the holy mass, then that should be the items for liturgical examinations.
When the lay mocks at the “Lord’s Prayer,” the features of Jesus, and the host, that is not only an abuse of holy elements but sacrilege.
The Liturgy of Jesus at the Mount was about the heart that communicated with the Father and how Jesus channeled the fruit of the liturgy to the people. Jesus did not prescribe the brand of footwear for the people to be qualified in the worship and prayer. But of course, wearing sleepers inside the church to preside and concelebrate in the liturgy is another story.
We respect the liturgy because this is our worship, but it does not absolutize on the prescription that emanates from the urban setting.
I hope that in the liturgy, we continue to give due respect to the Holy, but we must not be too engrossed with the material facets as to overcome the authentic purpose of prayer.
Liturgy must unite the people and not divide, just because of the rigid and poor interpretation of the rubrics.
Liturgy must make us kinder as we constantly experience the beauty and benefits of the Sacraments. The Vatican II underlined that the “liturgy is the source and summit of Christian life.” CCC 1324,1341, 1362
The Eucharist enables us to make present again and offer anew Jesus Christ’s one redemptive Sacrifice of Calvary, which began with his Passion. It’s the summit, because the Eucharist is truly a foretaste of heaven, in which we partake of Jesus’ body and blood. (CF Catholic Answers)
Liturgy must be the most beautiful venue and avenue where the public communicates with God and experience salvation in the here and now and for the future.
The 17th Sunday in ordinary time is the last Sunday of July and the gospel underlines “the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure for which a man would give up everything to acquire.”
We aspire for spiritual goods and spiritual gifts. Let our liturgy be the best venue and avenue to realize them.
I was the liturgist of the Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe and for decades of service, I learned a lot from people and priests who suggested and also corrected me.
I am grateful to Bishops Claver and Cornelio Wigwigan whom I learned a lot of inculturation in the liturgy and common sense; to Rev. Fr. Anscar Chupungco OSB, my teacher at PIL Bukidnon; Fr. Benildus Maramba OSB for the spirit and letter of liturgy well blended; and to Bishop William Antonio whom I owe my pastoral liturgy.
Blessed 8th Episcopalordination anniversary, Bishop Val Dimoc.
Reach me at [email protected].