RIP Anscar Chupungco UPDATED 1-15-13

Pray Tell recently received word that the eminent liturgist Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB, passed away this morning. May he rest in peace.

UPDATED 1/15/13: Mary Fox has written this memorial to Fr. Anscar at Pastoral Liturgy.


  1. Can it be so? Learned, witty, gentle and tenacious. Monk, scholar, centrist, friend.

  2. Rest in peace, Fr. Chupungco. You will be very missed on earth. Thank you Fr. Anthony for letting us know of Fr. Chupungo’s passing

  3. My heart is saddened by his death. I began my theological studies in 1992 (WTU) , the year that his book, Liturgical Inculturation, was published. Being of Filipino ethnicity, he became a beacon of hope. He was a role model, a mentor and friend.

    His legacy? Anscar focused on the concerns for inculturation and the application of this theological term in the formation of liturgical rites. He developed methods for implementing liturgical inculturation that gave due consideration to local church contexts and that created a dialogue between the worship practices that emerge in those contexts and the cultural predilections of Western Christianity that are often embedded within official rites. Another way to put it: he was able to speak the language of the official church (with enough historical footnotes and references to prove his credibility!) and place these official and historical threads in dialogue with the cultural envisioning of Vatican II. Thus, the timing of his publications was perfect and his location as a scholar – from his upbringing in the Philippines to the Roman worldview in San Anselmo – became a perfect marriage that challenged the depth of liturgical scholarship and expanded our cultural notions and sensibilities of worshipful practices.

    We will miss him deeply…

    Requiescat in pace.

  4. He is my uncle and he will live forever in our hearts. He is gone but will never be forgotten. May he rest in eternal peace.

  5. I, too, am saddened to learn of Fr. Anscar’s death. I have been reading his book, “What, Then, is Liturgy?” and have found it insightful and enlightening. May he rest in peace.

  6. I did not always agree with Fr. Chupungco in life, but sometimes he pleasantly surprised me, such as with his suggestion that the the Octave of Pentecost should not have been suppressed. I offer my fervent prayer for him: Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

  7. Heard about Fr.Chupungco’s death this morning. Fr. Anscar, you are a great man and always. My great mentor when I was in San Anselmo Pontifical Liturgical Institute Rome (1990-1993). May he rest in peace.

  8. Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, while vesting to lead the concelebration of the Filipino fiesta of Jesus, the Holy Child, in Atlanta in January 2010, shared that Dom Anscar Chupungco was his thesis adviser at Sant Anselmo when he was a doctoral student in liturgy. Dom Anscar was a young monk-professor. Gregory was his first doctoral student-advisee. May Dom Anscar rest in peace. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

  9. I had looked forward to hearing him speak at the NPM convention this coming July, and to meeting him in person. He has left behind a rich legacy of writing, and I can only hope that those scholars whose education he fostered will carry on the work of inculturation to which he contributed so impressively.

  10. Fr. Anscar was the first person to interview me when I came as a graduate student to S. Anselmo back in 1987. As I sat across from his rather formidable desk after identifying myself (I can’t remember if at that stage he was head of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute or Rector Magnificus of the Athenaeum of S. Anselmo), he asked (with a twinkle in his eye and in his voice): “Are you SURE that you are Michael Joncas?” When I assured him that I was, he said: “Well, from listening to the liturgical music you have written, I assumed you were an ancient black man.” (I think he was referring to a syncopated setting of “Our Blessing Cup” that I had written many years before and that had apparently made its way into worship in the Philippines.) It was not the interview I had expected :-)!
    From that day on, I got to know Fr. Anscar in his many roles: as an indefatigable teacher, lecturing in Italian, and giving oral exams in at least five modern European languages; as an administrator of a pontifical athenaeum, with its complex internal and external politics; as an advisor to the Congregation for Divine Worship; as a scholar, both producing his own articles and books and reviewing those of others; as a mentor to aspiring liturgical scholars; and as a man of wit, prayer and spiritual depth.
    Along with his colleagues at S. Anselmo he modeled and taught me the style of liturgical studies to which I aspire: meticulous historical scholarship always placed in historical context; passionate commitment to on-going liturgical renewal in cultural context; theological and canonical acumen in conversation with social sciences; critical appreciation for liturgical arts and popular devotions of every era. He could forcefully argue a position without descending to ad hominem attacks. Best of all, he knew that his work as scholar, intellectual, and monk was to serve the Church’s worship not his ego.
    May he now know the fullness of the heavenly liturgy.

  11. I began my studies at Sant’ Anselmo in 1979 and like Michael Joncas it was a memorable encounter, and marked my years at PIL and beyond. Anscar always expected a lot from those who studied at the Liturgical Institute, but was generous with his support and encouragement as he challenged students to do better. Recently, I did a review of CAL’s (Catholic Academy of Liturgy) commentary on the Ordo Missae to which Anscar made significant contributions on the translation into English. That recent work of his reminded me of his incredible skills, rich insights, and vast knowledge and deep appreciation of the Roman liturgy that he also shared with those who studied under him. It was always truly evident that he loved the Roman liturgy. The early shapers of the reformed liturgy are quickly fading. For me, that evokes saddness but I remain full of thanks to The Lord for having given such a gracious steward of the Church’s liturgy.

  12. My heart was saddened when I heard that Fr. Anscar passed away. For me , I considered him as one of the best college presidents ever. He was a pro-worker and thinks for the welfare of the whole school. And yet, he memorized the names of his hundreds and hundreds of co-workers. Approachable and most of all humble. A real model who exemplifies PRAYER, WORK AND PEACE. Thank you very much Fr. Anscar for showing and living with us the teachings of St. Benedict. THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD MAYBE GLORIFIED!

  13. Rest in Peace, Fr. Anscar. Such a big loss to Philippine Church’s Liturgy, but i know you’re in a much better place now. You will be missed. 🙁

  14. Out of respect and Christian charity for the deceased and the living, the comments box is closed.

    Pray Tell is happy to print additional tributes and memorials and thanksgivings for the life of Fr. Anscar – please email them to the moderator at and they will be posted.


  15. He was one of my heroes, writing about liturgy and inculturation in a unique and authoritative way, despite being such a gentle person. I am so glad that I was able to hear him at FDLC in 2011 and so disappointed that he will not be at NPM this summer. May he rest in a richly-deserved peace.

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