Philippine Liturgy Conference Celebrates 25th Anniversary

By Peter Dwyer

Sept. 14, 2010, Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Manila, Philippines

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Anscar Chupungco, OSB, gave the opening address this morning in the first session of the National Meeting of Diocesan Directors of Liturgy (NMDDL). More than 200 participants are gathered from across the Philippines for this 25th annual meeting, which is structured like the Federation if Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) in the Unites States.

In addition to programming marking the silver anniversary of the meeting, the 2010 conference theme is “The Veneration of the Saints.”

The third edition of the Roman Missal is not a major topic of conversation here, though the implications of translating the syntax of the new English edition of the Missal into the eight liturgical languages of the Philippines is certainly a concern (lacking experts in each language who are also expert in Latin means that the English text is the translation source – a circumstance often cited for the insistence on a universal and literal English translation).

Chupungco’s talk, “Theology of the Veneration of the Saints,” was an artful combination of learned scholarship and pastoral utility. Blending theology, history, liturgy, and insight into popular devotion, Chupungco emphasized that the saints are intercessors, not mediators. He noted that we seek the saints as allies even though Jesus Christ is always open to our prayers and always ready to mediate for us.

In the second address of the day Amelito Racelis, SDB, focused on the development of the sanctoral cycle within the Roman liturgical calendar. Racelis inadvertently got the best laugh of the day with his categories of virgins that concluded with “simple virgin” (intending to distinguish, for example, “virgin and doctor” from simply “virgin”).

The conference continues through September 16th.

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Peter Dwyer is Director of Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota.

2 comments

  1. “Chupungco’s talk, ‘Theology of the Veneration of the Saints,’ was an artful combination of learned scholarship and pastoral utility. Blending theology, history, liturgy, and insight into popular devotion, Chupungco emphasized that the saints are intercessors, not mediators.”

    But intercessors are mediators, this kind of blanket statement (if accurately reported) is unneccesarily confusing for as Aquinas writes: “nothing hinders certain others from being called mediators, in some respect, between God and man, forasmuch as they cooperate in uniting men to God, dispositively or ministerially.”

  2. “Blending theology, history, liturgy, and insight into popular devotion … saints are intercessors, not mediators” is a statement borne out of the process in which the statement describes. Western thinking differs greatly from the Eastern way of thinking. Although I can say that we, Filipinos, have unfortunately been contaminated by the prevalent American consumerism, our pre-Christian belief system is still deeply and cultrually ingrained as manifested in our religious customs, devotions and traditions. The dynamics between “Bathala” [child-God] and “anitos” [lesser gods] oftentimes leaves the Filipino faithful on the verge of superstition. This is where Fr. Chupungco reiterates that saints are intercessors, not mediators – geared towards a more healthy understanding of worship. Immersing in the Filipino religious culture would help a Western mind to unpack all these. Come to the Philippines where smiles abound! 🙂

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