Sunday, 29 September 2013

Filipinos martyred in hatred of the faith

To date, Saint Laurence is one of the two Filipinos—the other being Saint Peter—canonised by the Vatican. There are other causes pending in the Vatican, and many more are still waiting to be initiated. We have the case of Felipe Sonson (also Felipe Songsong), an Macabebe of noble birth and a Jesuit donado, who was martyred in Guam in 1685.

Marker for Felipe Sonson
in front the church of Saint Nicholas
Macabebe, Pampanga

Read fully here.

Other possible cases would be those of the martyrs during the Philippine clerical indigenisation.

Church of Saint Monica
formerly the church of Saint Michael the Archangel
Sarrat, Ilocos Norte

We have Don Mariano Edralín (probably a relative of Ferdinand Marcos on his mother’s side), parish priest of San Miguel de Sarrat, who was murdered on 2 February 1910 in his convent, the day after a court of Laoag ordered the return of his parish church to the Church.

Still another would be Ildefonso Valencia, a native of Abra, who, baptised in the iglesia independiente, converted after he was catechised by lay catechists. In October 1912, during a procession headed by Fr. Theodor Buttenbruch, an SVD missionary to Abra, the Aglipayan priest of Abra, incensed at his conversion, brandishing a cutlass, approached Ildefonso and struck him to the ground. It is said that the blood of this martyr splattered upon the immaculate vestments of Fr. Buttenbruch, who later would be martyred on 14 November 1944.

(foreground, left to right)
Msgr. Wilhelm Finneman, S.V.D., auxiliary bishop of Manila;
Rev. Fr. Wilhelm Schmidt, S.V.D., director
Lateran Ethnological Missionary Museum;
Rev. Fr. Theodor Buttenbruch, S.V.D., regional superior
of the Divine Word Missionaries in the Philippines

Rumour has it that Fr. Buttenbruch was buried alive by the Japanese in front the SVD seminary.

[Note: The cause for Bishop Finneman is currently open. He was martyred in 1942, thrown into the sea by the Japanese whose atrocities in Mindoro he strongly opposed.]

Pray that these martyrs be raised to the dignity and honour of our hallowed altars.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Feast of Saint Laurence Ruiz of Manila

Son of a Filipina mother and a Chinese father, probably named (upon baptism) after the 3rd-century Roman deacon roasted on the gridiron for his faith, surnamed Ruiz at his baptism after his godfather, an altar server (monaguillo) at the church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Binondo extra muros, a husband, a father, a clerk (escribano) for the Most Holy Order of Preachers, a guildbrother (cofrade) of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, falsely implicated in the death of a Spaniard, an accidental fugitive, a catechist: prior to his martyrdom, these are the only things we know of the protosaint and protomartyr of the Philippine Islands.

S. Laurentius Martyr
A.D. 1637
mosaic, Gospel side
Altar of the Crucifixion of Saint Peter
Patriarchal Basilica of Saint Peter

Not much of his early life is known as the archives of his home parish, the church of Saint Michael (now the parish of the Most Holy Rosary), were destroyed during the War, its belfry and façade being the only structural survivors. But that he suffered a most terrible death is not unknown to us. Saint Laurence, together with Saint William, Saint Michael, Saint Vincent, and Saint Lazarus, headed by Saint Anthony secretly (since the Governor General forbade travels to Japan) left Manila for Japan. They were immediately seized when they docked in Okinawa, and, a year later, transferred to Nagasaki. Saint Laurence, upon seeing the tortures, wavered for a moment and sent an interpreter to seek what recompense he will get if he apostatised. Strengthened of the exhortation of the Dominican fathers, he regained his resolve, recalled the interpreter and declared himself a Catholic, the very same declaration he would make before the judges.
Ego catholicus sum et animo prompto paratoque pro Deo mortem obibo. Si mille vitas haberem, cunctas ei offerrem.
This was his undying declaration. We render it in English as:
I am a Catholic, and with a ready and prepared soul, I will accept death for God. If I should have a thousand lives, I would offer all of them to Him.
They were then tortured with water. A week later, they were paraded towards Nishizaka Hill to be tortured in the infamous tsurushi. The judges determined that parading them thus would incite the residents of Nagasaki to distance themselves from the missionaries and the Truth they preached, and to denounce those who professed the Faith. Saint Laurence and his only remaining companion refused to renounce Christ, and so, hanging upside down, they died of blood loss and suffocation. The judges immediately had their bodies cremated to prevent Japanese Christians from taking relics and venerating them. Their ashes were thrown to the sea.

Thus, on 29 September 1637, Saint Laurence, together with his Dominican companions, expired, martyred in odium fidei, and received the eternal crown, the glorious laurel, which his baptismal name signifies.

The accounts of the martyrdom reached the Philippines three months later. The Walled City was moved with devotion, its residents solemnly and fervently processing from the Cathedral to the church of Saint Dominic, headed by the Archbishop with the civil authorities in attendance. That otherwise tiny enclave of Christendom, echoing the solemnity of the ages, swelling the perennial hymn of thanksgiving, honoured the martyrs, on the occasion of their heavenly birth, with a solemn Te Deum.

Three centuries later, Pope Blessed John Paul II beatified Laurence, together with his companions, in Manila, the first time outside the Vatican, on 18 February 1981. Six years later, the same Pope enrolled the blessed martyrs in the roster of saints at the Vatican on 18 October 1987.

As Saint Laurence was beatified and canonised after the Second Vatican Council, we do not have a proper Mass for his feast, which we think would have been commissioned had he been canonised before the Council. The common of one martyr, in the prudent opinion of many who read the rubrics of the Missal, is the applicable arrangement for his feast.

This dearth has inspired us to compose a proper Mass and Office for the Feast of Saint Laurence. This arrangement bears no canonical approval whatsoever, and while it is a work of piety and faith, it must be, under its current circumstance, treated as an academic material. We share some of its parts in celebration of our protomartyr’s feast and in the hope that, someday, Saint Laurence will have his propers in the Extraordinary Form.

The Office and Mass were composed with the vision that the feast would receive the rank classis I, at least for the Philippine Islands. There is a Vigil Mass for 27 September, and matins has three nocturns with nine lessons. The liturgical day begins with first vespers and closes with second vespers. The hymns for vespers, matins, and lauds are centoed from a thirteen-verse hymn composed in honour of Saint Laurence. A sequence is also assigned for the feast. All of these are set to chant.

Below is an extract from the office of matins, showing part of the sixth lesson, the sixth responsory, the seventh antiphon, and part of the eighth antiphon.

Below is the complete office for second vespers.

Below is part of the Mass. We only show the text, although the sung parts have already been set to chant.

The first verses of the sequence are shown below.

We repeat: This arrangement bears no canonical approval whatsoever, and while it is a work of piety and faith, it must be, under its current circumstance, treated as an academic material. 

From the Missale Romanum editio typica tertia, we have the collect for the optional memorial on 28 September, for Saint Laurence and his companions:
Beatórum Mártyrum tuórum Lauréntii et sociórum, quaésumus, Dómine Deus, patiéntiam in servítio tui et próximi nobis concéde, quia in regno tuo sunt beáti, qui persecutiónem patiúntur propter justítiam. Per Dóminum nostrum.
San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila, ruega por nosotros.

Friday, 27 September 2013


Vallicagaianum, quod est Vallis Cagaiana, Regio II vocatur. Hodiernis rerum gestarum scriptoribus putatur origo nominis « Cagayán » hispanici esse herba « tagay », quo locus harum herbarum plantarii vocamine appellatur « tagayán » vel « katagayán ». Huius pars maxima sita est in valle inter Catenamontium et Matrisaltum, vulgo « Cordillera » et « Sierra Madre » vocata, respective.

Collocatur regio haec inter Regionem Catenamontinam et Mare Philippinense, atque in superficiei dimensione secunda in Philippinis post Regionem Mimaropanam. Flumen Cagaianum, sive Fluvius Magnus Cagaianus, longissimum inter omnia flumina Insularum Philippinarum, fluit per medium regionis. Notamus quod in hac regione reperitur extremus locus Insularum memoratus in hymno philippino in honorem Sacratissimi Cordis Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, vulgo nuncupato « No más amor que el tuyo », qui est Aparri, sed et idem geographicus qui est Mavudis una ex Batanensis provinciae insulis.

Chartula Regionis Vallicagaianae

Istaec quinque provincias habet RegioVallicagaiana.

Tabella provinciarum Regionis Vallicagaianae

Provincia Ivatana
Nomen vulgum : Batanes
Nomen latinum : Ivatania
Nomen incolae : Ivaten(sis), -tan(us, a)

Tabella municipiorum provinciae Ivatanae

Provincia Cagaiana
Nomen vulgum : Cagayán
Nomen latinum : Cagaianum
Nomen incolae : Cagaien(sis), -ian(us, a)

Tabella municipiorum urbisque provinciae Cagaianae

Provincia Elisabethapolitana
Nomen vulgum : Isabela
Nomen latinum : Elisabethapolis
Nomen incolae : Elisabethapolitan(us, a)

Tabella municipiorum urbiumque provinciae Elisabethopolitanae

Provincia Novabiscaina
Nomen vulgum : Nueva Vizcaya
Nomen latinum : Nova Biscaia
Nomen incolae : Novabiscaën(sis), -cain(us, a)

Tabella municipiorum provinciae Novabiscainae

Provincia Quirinopolitana
Nomen vulgum : Quirino
Nomen latinum : Quirinopolis
Nomen incolae : Quirinopolitan(us, a)

Tabella municipiorum provinciae Quirinopolitanae

Perficimus quartam partem locorum latinitatis nominum Philippinarum Insularum.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Solemn High Mass of Fr. Anthony Uy, F.S.S.P.

This is an extremely late post.

Last 23 June, eve of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, known in some parts of the world as the Summer Christmas, recently-ordained Fr. Anthony Uy, F.S.S.P. celebrated Mass at the Parish of the Holy Family in the Diocese of Cubao, assisted by a deacon and a subdeacon. We have already shared Fr. Uy’s first Mass in the Philippines here.

After Mass, Fr. Uy gave his first blessing to the faithful.

Photo courtesy of M.J.M.A.