by Audrey Seah
The “pastoral liturgy guide” for Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to the Philippines from Jan 15 – 19 has just been released. Those interested in following the upcoming celebrations may download the booklet for free from the Vatican. All readings, prayers, hymns and responses are included in the liturgical guide. Latin is the primary language of the Mass with religious and priests, while English and several filipino dialects are used in the other masses.
Liturgically speaking, there’s much to look forward to the next few days. The Philippines is well-known for colorful expressions of religious fervor as seen most recently in the annual procession of the Black Nazarene. And let’s not forget the giant (higantes) Pope Francis made out of paper marché from last November’s Higantes festival (will giant Pope Francis make an appearance at the Apostolic visit?!) With the theme of the visit being “mercy and compassion” and the focus on the victims of typhoon Haiyan which displaced four million people and flattened over one million homes, however, I’m most looking forward to seeing the inseparable link between liturgy and social justice being made apparent again in a world that tends to forget it too easily.
Let’s keep our Filipino brothers and sisters in prayer as they prepare for our Holy Father’s arrival.
Audrey Seah is an alumna of Saint John’s School of Theology-Seminary and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Theology (Liturgical Studies) the University of Notre Dame.