Thursday, April 02, 2015

The Ilocano Pasyon: Sudario and Lectio

            I just came from Abra and even if up there the scorching summer sun is nearer to mother earth, you can still be refreshed by the rich traditions during the Semana Santa (Holy Week). The singing of the Sudario—the Lament (Dung-aw) of the Blessed Mother on the death her son can still be heard played over the radio stations both AM and FM.

           The  Sudario (literally “handkerchief” in Latin; cf. Santa Veronica’s sudario), inculturation of the dung-aw, the pre-colonial Ilocano dirge, consists of five lines of eight syllables per stanza. Every part has ten stanzas with the tenth as a two-line verse that summons a personified Jerusalem. It is sung soulfully—there is a “drawl,” a prolongation of a vowel sound such as “ah” to make thee lament even more emphatic and mournful.  Unlike  the Tagalog Pasyon whose musical setting has adjusted to contemporary music, the original melody of the Sudario has endured and continues to be heard throughout the Lenten season especially during Good Friday before the Santo Entierro (the image of the dead Christ in supine position). The sample stanzas below is taken from part IV of the Sudario published in The Ilocos Review 2 (1970), pp. 119-120:
            Ay O Sudario ni Veronica
            A nacaipintaan ti tallo a sinan rupa
            Iyasidegmo man ta agcac ida
            Daguita ladaoan a naipinta
            Daydi anacco a binunga.

            [Oh Sudario of Veronica,
            On which three pictures are impressed,
            Come nearer, come, that I may kiss
            The three images which are taken—
            Pictures of Christ, my begotten son.]

            Ay ay-ayatec a bul-lalayaw
            Sadino aya ti papanam
            Ay anacco matmatannac man
            Iti ladingitco a diac maturdan
            Iti ipupusaymo isisinam.

            [Ah, beautiful rainbow, my beloved!
            Whither have you one now?
            Look down and see well, my son
            My great sorrow, unbearable,
            Because from me you’re departing].

The recording here is part of the collection of radio station DZPA, Bangued, Abra.

       The Ilocano Pasyon is said to be a translation of the Tagalog Pasyon Genesis or Pasyong Mahal a poetic retelling of the key events of the scripture from Creation to Judgment. The chanting of the Ilocano Pasyon is no longer heard today, but the Sudario and the Lectio are still chanted. The Lectio (Latin for “Reading”) is the chanting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah in Latin (Vulgate) in typical Ilocano melody. The Sasainnec (Lamentations) in the Hebrew text is an alphabetical acrostic poem. Each poem has twenty-two verses; each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The Latin translation spells out these Hebrew letters before each poem. Thus the Ilocano Lectio begins with a long but impassioned singing of Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

         The Lectio is a local adaptation or inculturation of the Tenebrae (Latin for “darkness”), the night prayer services during the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday)  which include the reading of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Likewise, the Improperia (“Reproaches) whose texts are from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, are chanted during the veneration of the Cross on Good Friday.

         The Lectio that you hear in this recording is from Lamentions 3:1-9  sung on Good Friday.  The singers are the members of the Men’s Choir from Tayum, Abra. Special thanks to the Ballena family for allowing me to use the recording.

The text reads:
ALEPH ego vir videns paupertatem meam in virga indignationis eius 2 ALEPH me minavit et adduxit in tenebris et non in lucem 3 ALEPH tantum in me vertit et convertit manum suam tota die 4 BETH vetustam fecit pellem meam et carnem meam contrivit ossa mea 5 BETH aedificavit in gyro meo et circumdedit me felle et labore 6 BETH in tenebrosis conlocavit me quasi mortuos sempiternos 7 GIMEL circumaedificavit adversum me ut non egrediar adgravavit conpedem meam 8 GIMEL sed et cum clamavero et rogavero exclusit orationem meam 9 GIMEL conclusit vias meas lapidibus quadris semitas meas subvertit.

[Translation from NRSV: 1  I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God's wrath; 2 he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; 3 against me alone he turns his hand, again and again, all day long. 4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones; 5 he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; 6 he has made me sit in darkness like the dead of long ago. 7 He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; 8 though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer; 9 he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked].

As in the other poems, it ends with call for Jerusalem to return to the Lord in the concluding refrain Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum ("Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return unto the Lord your God").

         Blessed Easter to all!
Fr. Randy Flores, SVD
Divine Word Seminary
4120 Tagaytay City

Friday, March 27, 2015

The DWST 50th Commencement

The DWST 50th Commencement
Theme:  The Year of the Poor
Download the program here.

Baccalaureate  Mass Presider:
Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales
Archbishop Emeritus of Manila
Founder: Pondong Batangan and Pondo ng Pinoy
Click here to download his homily.

Commencement Speaker: Fr. Benigno Beltran, SVD
Former Parish Priest: Risen Christ, Smokey Mountain (Balut, Tondo)
Multi-awarded writer and theologian
Award winning books: Christology of the Inarticulate (1987); Faith and Struggle on Smokey Mountain (2012).
DWST Alumnus 1974
Click here to download his commencement speech. Click here to download the introduction to the speaker by A. Alveyra
To order Fr. Ben's latest book, pls. write to

Valedicere: Fr. Mark Ramos, SVD (T4)
Speech, not available yet.

Baccalaureate Mass presided by H.E. Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales
Graduates of the Four-Year Ecclesiastical Course 

Graduates of A.B. in Theology

Graduates of the Certificate in Theological Studies
Fr. Ben Beltran delivering the commencement speech.

Fr. Scotti, rector of the Somascans places the hood
on graduate Bro. Hermie Juarez, CRS
here assisted by Fr. Danny Tiong, Master of Ceremonies

Graduate Philip Tan of the Diocese of Imus poses
with the statues of Saint Arnold Janssen and
Saint Joseph Freinademetz
The program's cover page

DWST Magister Award: Fr. Guillermo "Willy" Villegas, SVD

Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD
DWST Magister Awardee (2015)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

R.I.P. Corazon Onceno

DWST offers its condolences to the family of Bro. Iric Onceno, OSJ (T3) on the death of his mother, Mrs. Corazon Onceno.

Oremus pro ea. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Clearance for the following T4 students

The following graduating T4 students has yet to comply their clearance prior to graduation:
2. Cango

Friday, March 13, 2015

PUU Confers STB Degrees to 11 DWST 2014 Alumni


Divine Word Seminary is affiliated to the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome.