MEYCAUAYAN, BULACAN — AROUND 150 choir members from the Diocese of Malolos will join the 1,000-voice choir that will lead the singing at Pope Francis’ Concluding Mass dubbed as the “Mass of Mercy and Compassion” at Luneta (Rizal) Park on Jan. 18.

Malolos Diocesan Committee Chairman of Liturgical Music Fr. Allan Antonio said the diocese was “fortunate” to be part of the Luneta Mass, which is expected to draw more than five million people.

The 41-year-old priest added that a smaller group from the 150-member choir of the Malolos diocese would also sing on Jan. 16 at the Manila Cathedral, where a Latin Mass will be offered by the Argentine Pontiff with the country’s priests and bishops.

“Our diocese is fortunate to have been invited to be part of two events during the papal visit,” said Fr. Antonio, parish priest of the Muling Pagkabuhay Parish Church in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

Fr. Antonio, who will sing bass at the Luneta and Manila Cathedral rites, said the 150-member choir of the Malolos diocese would be composed mainly of the Malolos Jubilee Ensemble, which was formed in 2012 when the Malolos diocese celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The choir delegation is also composed of representatives from the 10 vicariates of Malolos, namely Valenzuela, Meycauayan, San Miguel, San Agustin, Hagonoy, Malolos, Plaridel, Sta. Maria, San Jose del Monte, and Bocaue. The Malolos choir delegation will join choir members from Manila, Cubao, Pasig, Novaliches, Kalookan, Antipolo, San Pablo, Parañaque, and Batangas. The 100-member orchestra will be from the Conservatory of Music of the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (UST) and other Catholic schools.

A total 2,250 priests from different parts of the archipelago and 250 local and foreign bishops will be concelebrating with the Holy Father during his 4 p.m. Mass, which will coincide with the Feast of Sto. Niño that celebrates the popular devotion to the image of the Child Jesus first brought by Spanish missionaries in 1521.

Fr. Antonio said the Malolos choir delegation was also tasked to sing at the three-day 2nd Philippine Conference on the New Evangelization (PCNE) that will be held in UST next week.

Rhodelia Valeriano, a member of the Malolos choir delegation, said she felt overwhelmed with being part of the historic visit of Pope Francis, adding that she had witnessed the 1995 visit of Pope St. John Paul II as a Bocaue youth representative.

“Being part of the choir, nakaka-amaze, ang sarap sa feeling,” Valeriano said.

‘Multilingual’ music

Fr. Antonio, who is also the vice chairman of the Federation of Tagalog Diocesan Directors on Liturgy, said the Luneta Mass songs approved by the Vatican were “multilingual.”

That songs will be in Latin, Spanish, English, and Filipino. Seven major languages, namely Tagalog, Sugbuanon (Cebuano), Ilocano, Bicol, Capampangan, Hiligaynon (Ilongo) and Waray, will also be used.

“Talagang ‘yung mga dialects natin ay sinikap na well-represented. Para talagang maramdaman na ang binisita ay hindi lang Maynila,” he said.

Fr. Manuel “Manoling” Francisco, S.J., who composed the iconic “Hindi Kita Malilimutan” during his first year in Ateneo de Manila, was commissioned by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to compose the music for the Concluding Mass before the 78-year-old Supreme Pontiff heads back to Rome.

Fr. Antonio, who is also a student of UST Conservatory of Music, said the never-before-heard Luneta Mass music would have a “familiar melody” and “easy-recall” nature, applying a musical theory called “inculturation” in melody, where indigenous and classic Filipino styles like kundiman and singkil are applied.

The Gloria will be sung in English, Latin, Cebuano, and Filipino, and the accompaniment will be inspired by the music of the Cordilleras. The refrain of the Communion song, “Jesu, Panis Vitae” (“Hesus, Tinapay ng Buhay”), will be in Latin, and will also include verses in Filipino, Cebuano, English, and Spanish. There will be one musical motif for the Gloria, the Gospel Acclamation, and the Great Amen.

The song “We Are All God’s Children” will be sung after the communion while the 1995 World Youth Day song “Tell the World of His Love” will be the final song.

The Committee on Liturgical Music for the Apostolic Visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines is under the chairmanship of Rev. Fr. Leo Nilo Mangussad. Jerome P. Villanueva


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.