THE FIFTEENTH FOUNDING ANNIVERSAIRY OF ST. LORENZO RUIZ CHOIR
SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER PARISH / MALIGAYA
By Theodore Kabundi
Fifteen years ago, Father Javier Mexicano, Xaverian missionary in the Philippines founded on September 1996 a choir dedicated to Saint Lorenzo in Saint Francis Parish. Saint Lorenzo is the first Filipino saint who, on September 29, 1637, professed his faith by martyrdom. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Manila and later canonized on October 28, 1987. San Lorenzo Ruiz holds the distinction of being the first person beatified outside the Vatican. He also holds the honor of being the first Filipino saint, the “most improbable of saints,” as Pope John Paul II described him during the canonization ceremony. The zeal of this layman who worked as a calligrapher for the Dominican parish of Binondo, and his passion in translating baptismal, confirmation and marriage documents into the church’s official books, pushed Fr. Mexicano to name the newly born choir after him.
Fifteen years later, Saint Lorenzo Choir in Saint Francis Parish is still burning with eagerness to praise and glorify the Almighty God through their beautiful canticles and melodies bearing in mind this famous saying “Qui canta bene, ora bis” (He who sings well, prays twice). In her opening address, the St. Lorenzo Choir Musical Directress, Ms. Jelly S. Aliligay while thanking God for His faithfulness, reiterated their firm will power to keep higher their commitment for the sake of God’s people. The use of music during Christian worship is of a great value as stated in Sancrosanctum Concilium in its article 112 “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.”
In order to foster unity and collaboration, the other choirs were invited along with the Xaverian Inernational Theologate of Asia to perform some songs for God’s glory. As a sign of being honored by the invitation, our community selected the best three songs of our repertoire. The first one “Hope of Peace” stressed on the need of being one by bridging the gaps of division and calling for resolution. It was a good message given to our today’s world wherein many world leaders promote war. The second one drew the attention of the audience to the many gifts we all have receive from God, reminding of the importance of being grateful. The last was the canticle of the Virgin Mary, which along with the Saint Lorenzo Choir, celebrates God’s faithfulness to his people. It should be said that even being far below the level of the other performing groups; we participated with joy, taking it as an opportunity to testify the enthusiasm for the missionary vocation.
As the liturgical music is relevant for our meditation and prayer, let us pray for San Lorenzo Choir and for all the choirs of our parish and throughout the world by entrusting them to God through the intercession of Saint Cecilia, the patroness of singers. We should also pray for all the composers so that they may be illuminated during their composition and come out with canticles and melodies which draw people closer and closer to God. This is why the Constitution on the Liturgy affirms, “Composers, filled with the Christian spirit, should feel that their vocation is to cultivate sacred music and increase its store of treasures. Let them produce compositions which have the qualities proper to genuine sacred music, not confining themselves to works which can be sung only by large choirs, but providing also for the needs of small choirs and for the active participation of the entire assembly of the faithful.” (Art.121)
Mabuhay St. Lorenzo Ruiz Choir!
Long live St. Lorenzo Ruiz Choir!
Happy anniversary and more power in your commitment!!!