Saturday, January 17, 2015


This has to go down as the most unusual outdoor papal Mass in history. At one point as the Eucharistic prayer is about the start, there is fear that the large candlesticks and crucifix on the altar (actually a simple table) will be knocked down by the wind, so the candlesticks are placed on the floor and the crucifix moved so if it falls it won't fall on the pope or the bread and wine that would become the Bread and Wine. 


Anonymous said...

I think that saying Mass in the midst of a typhoon is an excellent witness to our faith. My mom, who is not Catholic...yet, said that it was very moving seeing Mass being held with so many ppl under those conditions.

Rood Screen said...

What's the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane?

By the way, I occasionally have Mass out-of-doors, and so I asked someone to make a steel plate for me that inserts into the pall to keep it from blowing off the chalice. It works well.

John Nolan said...


Hurricanes occur in the western hemisphere, typhoons in the eastern.

Indoor worship is a defining feature of Christianity; pagans held their rituals outdoors, in sacred groves etc.

John Nolan said...

As to the Mass, it was a shambles; they couldn't even provide an altar and the music was dreadful.

The Pope said more of it in English, so with any luck when he visits the USA he will be proficient enough to celebrate the whole thing in that language, much to the relief of most American Catholics who would run a mile rather than have to hear Mass in Latin.

Rood Screen said...

John Nolan,

While it's certainly better to offer Mass indoors, missionaries, army chaplains, priests who minister to farm migrants, etc., must occasionally offer Mass out-of-doors. The first Mass offered in what is now the USA was offered outside in Saint Augustine, Florida.

Anonymous said...

@John Nolan actually, the set-up we are seeing here wasn't really prepared for the celebration. In fact, the organizers were able to prepare a very beautiful altar and a lectern for the Mass.

An orchestra composed of typhoon survivors was also able to rehearse for the event but because of the typhoon, they had to make adjustments.

PS. During the event, pieces of scaffolding fell on one of the organizers and died. May she rest in peace.

Marie said...

John Nolan,

There is no Cathedral or church in Tacloban large enough to hold all those people - that is, if any church is in a decent shape at all after Yolanda.

The Pope spoke part of his homily in Spanish, beautifully translated by a member of his party. The Mass was done in four languages - Waray [the dialect of the area], Latin, English and Spanish. It was as beautiful a Mass as you'd expect, considering the weather.

I thought the music was great. I understood every word of the songs and they were pretty orthodox.

Unknown said...

For us, survivors of typhoon Haiyan (local name:Yolanda) it was a very emotional experience. I was part of the committee on liturgy that oversaw the preparations for the Mass; we had prepared everything according to the guidelines from the Vatican, the only things that we couldn't control was the weather...the Archdiocese of Palo had issued the oratio imperata for good weather but the typhoon chose that particular day to make a landfall. The initial plan was to have the Mass indoors in the sacristy tent, it being broadcast ousted to the more than 200,000 faithful who have gathered the night before (by the time the Pope arrived we had already endured more than 6 hours of cold rain and lashing winds). But the Pope insisted on celebrating outside. we couldn't use the altar done for the occasion because the rain was practically torrential in that part, so we moved the mass over to one side of the stage, where the roof was lower. The altar was really heavy, and so we used the credence table for an altar. But by then the wind was stronger than before, strong enough to make the sturdy structure tremble, and all of us--from the Pope down to the last server--drenched to the bone.
the Papal Mass in Tacloban is an interesting case because of the precedents it made in the history of papal liturgy outside of Rome: aside from the extreme weather, the Pope elevated the ciborium instead of just the host, he wore a rainiest over his chasuble, and communion wasn't given to the faithful during the Mass, but rather afterwards (and in an orderly fashion), in the tabernacles surrounding the venue, and in churches the next day, Sunday.
But over and above all, it was therapeutic for all of us who survived the onslaught of Haiyan. traumatized as we were, we lost our fear of the rain and the wind. We realized later on, in retrospect that, having been wounded in a storm, maybe it was God using a similar experience to heal us collectively. An hour after the Pope left for Manila, the wind died down, and the typhoon left us.