Saint Rose of Lima

Today is the feast day of Saint Rose of Lima, Secondary Patroness of the Philippines. Unlike the feast of Saint Pudentiana, the other Secondary Patroness of the Philippines, which was completely impeded by the Vigil of Pentecost this year, the feast of Saint Rose of Lima is celebrated this year on its proper day in the calendar of the usus antiquior.

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Saint Rose of Lima became patroness of the Philippines by virtue of the bull Sacrosancti apostolatus cura, issued by Clement X on 11 August 1760.

We, remembering, with the great spiritual joy of Our mind, the merits of the aforementioned Blessed Rose, who for a long time and abroad hath filled the whole Church with the sweet odour of Christ, favourably desiring to accede to the pious and devout requests humbly made to Us on this subject by the aforesaid King Charles (II of Spain) and Queen Maria Anna (of Neuburg), and adhering to the footsteps of Our predecessor Clement (IX), by the aforesaid authority, and by the tenor of these presents, select and declare Blessed Rose of Lima, with the same prerogatives, universal and principal patroness of each and every province, realm, isle, and clime of the entire American continent, of the Philippines, and of the Indies.

Nos, gloriosæ B. Rosæ praedictæ, quæ Ecclesiam universam bono Christi odore longe lateque perfundit, merita magno cum spirituali animi nostri gaudio recolentes, piisque et devotis dictorum Caroli regis et Mariannæ reginæ supplicationibus nobis super hoc humiliter porrectis favorabiliter annuere cupientes, ac memorati Clementis prædecessoris vestigiis inhærentes, eamdem B. Rosam de S. Maria in universam et principaliorem patronam omnium et singularum provinciarum, regnorum, insularum, et regionum terræ firmæ totius Americæ, Philippinarum, et Indiarum, cum eisdem prærogativis, dicta auctoritate, tenore præsentium, eligimus pariter et declaramus.

In our ordines, Saint Rose of Lima was ranked duplex I classis, and enjoyed the title Patrona Principalis Indiarum (while Saint Pudentiana was Patrona Principalis Insularum Philippinarum), and later Patrona Principalis Insularum Philippinarum (this time, together with Saint Pudentiana). When Pope Pius XII declared the Immaculate Conception principal patroness of the Philippines, Saint Rose and Saint Pudentiana became secondary patronesses. Nevertheless, the feasts apparently continued to be celebrated as first-class liturgical celebrations until, for still unknown reasons, they were dropped from our national calendar in September 1963. These two stories remain anecdotal, as we have not yet found any corroborating document.

So, for those reciting the Divine Office, recite the Commons of Virgins with the appointed proper lessons (of the second nocturn) and collect. Mass is also from the Commons, with incipit Dilexisti. Latin America, as well as some few other places, makes use of a proper Office and Mass of Saint Rose. The ordines of the Philippines, however, consistently indicate the Commons for this feast. Mass is here, and Office is here (pp. 31–33).

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

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Sins that cry to heaven for vengeance

The past weeks confronted us with heartwrenching news about sexual abuse, scandalously but not shockingly displaying a pronounced homosexual tilt, perpetrated by priests, bishops, and at least one cardinal, against the children, adolescents, and young adults committed to their care. These sins are considered peccata clamantia, sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. And the disheartening thing about this is the fact that our spiritual fathers are party to the commission and impunity.

And so in fasting and prayer, we purposed to make a private act of reparation for these crimes. We pray that God would avert His anger from us, from the indifference we and others have shown. We ask for justice for the wronged, and conversion for the wrongdoers. We pray that God would honour the sincere efforts of many priest and bishops, laypeople as well, to address this scandal. And, uniting our sighs with those of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, we ask the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ to protect our priests: Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Thy Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Thy Precious Blood. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.

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Let Thy holy love surround them, and shield them from the world’s contagion.

May this private act of recitation (click on the subheading below to open the booklet) help those searching for a voice with which to articulate the depth of the sorrow that envelops us now, to discover these unworthy words that could somehow enunciate the pain, and, with these, seek after the forgiveness of God.

ACT OF REPARATION FOR SEXUAL ABUSES
perpetrated by priests, and concealed by bishops

O sweet Jesus, supreme and eternal Priest, good and merciful Shepherd, Whose most holy priesthood, instituted in order for qualified men to always freely render service in Thy offices, and worthily guide Thy flock in the governance of Holy Mother Church, is most irreverently assaulted by so much despise, contempt, deception, presumption, and impunity, behold us most humbly prostrate before Thee, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries, by which Thy Holy Church is everywhere afflicted. Continue reading “Sins that cry to heaven for vengeance”

From lightnings and storms, deliver us, O Lord!

Many parts in the archipelago are under a very inclement weather since last week. Inundations are becoming common, as evidenced below by photographs of the interior and exterior vicinity of the Cathedral of Balanga in Bataan.

Preces ad repellendas tempestatesIf you have the time, please recite the prayers prescribed by our ritual books against meteorological inclemencies. The prayers are in the form of rogational supplications (download the file here), and require the ringing of church bells. Let us pray that everyone, those at home and at work may be spared from these diverse meteorological manifestations.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Liturgical feast of a war

Last month, we read from Canticum Salomonis about the liturgical feast of the Liberation of Jerusalem which used to be observed on 15 July by the Crusaders. The Crusades have long been demonised in modern consciousness as oppressive Catholic expeditions into the Holy Land. In an age when demythification is in vogue, some sectors conveniently cling to a cloying mythologised version of history.

Santa María Sedano - El triunfo de la Santa Cruz en la batalla de las Navas de Tolosa
El triunfo de la Santa Cruz en la batalla de las Navas de Tolosa | Marceliano Santa María Sedano | 1892

Today, however, we turn our attention to a similar feast that celebrates a victory in war, in a coetaneous Crusade that was fought in the Iberian peninsula, a historical milestone now commonly referred to as the Reconquista. To situate our minds on this feast which is still celebrated in some places in the archipelago, a few readings are in order. Here is a piece published today by Canticum Salomonis. Here is a description of the feast, its propers, and its celebration in the Philippines from Dei praesidio fultus. And, lest we forget, a direct offshoot of these Crusades are the so-called bulas de la Santa Cruzada, which granted dietary privileges during times of fasting and abstinence. Read more about this here.

There are two features of this feast that might resonate with the modern Filipino ear. First, the most obvious, the archbishop of Toledo is named Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, therefore, a namesake of the highest civil power of the country, who was probably named after San Rodrigo de Córdoba, a priest who, steadfast and unwavering in his profession of the Catholic faith, was beheaded under Sharia law under apostasy charges (after his Muslim brother, whose fight with their other areligious brother Rodrigo attempted to break, reported to Muslim authorities that Rodrigo had converted to Islam). His feast day is 13 March, but we all know that compilers of almanaques, from which parents of a bygone age used to choose the names of their children, habitually transferred some saints to other days.

Second, the archbishop of Toledo assiduously and jealously upheld the primacy of the see of Toledo against the pretensions of the sees of Braga and of Tarragona, to such a point that whenever he went to battle, he had the primatial cross processed before him. In fact, one of the many miracles inventoried in the aftermath of the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, which was victory for the Christians, was the fact that, despite the fight to the death, the archbishop’s crucifer, Don Domingo Pascasio, a canon of the cathedral of Toledo, who carried the aforementioned double-barred ferula before the archbishop, sustained no harm. One can contrast this against the limp-wristed stance this government has taken against maritime encroachments into our territorial waters.

Just wars are seldom fought by arms alone. They are fought as well with prayers. Let this feast be a reminder to us that God visits his ire upon those who dishonour His Holy Name.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Manifold significance of 16 July

Nowadays, 16 July is almost always associated with Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a feast that was earmarked for removal by the Commission for the General Reform of the Liturgy because its members felt the faithful focused on the privilege attached to the devotion and neglected other Marian feasts. After an onslaught of blasphemous diatribes—conveniently explained away either as a legitimate exercise of the freedom of speech, or an explosion of unresolved anger against an institution that coddled child abusers—from the highest civil power of the land, the bishops of the Philippines invited the faithful to pray and fast for those who blaspheme the Holy and Terrible Name of God. This reparatory triduum starts today.

While we pray and fast today in reparation for the outrages and calumnies spoken against the Name of God, let us also remember those milestones that, in the supreme and infinite goodness of God, lodged on this auspicious date in our calendar.


16 July A. D. 1935
Rome at Saint Peter’s

Pius XI
Pope Pius XI

Having received the request of the metropolitan archbishop of Manila, on behalf of the clergy and faithful of the entire archipelago, as well as the relation of the apostolic delegate, Pope Pius XI promulgates the bull Romani Pontifices to the Philippine Islands, declaring the Virgin of Guadalupe as the Heavenly Patroness of the Philippine Islands (in Latin, Cœlestis Patrona Insularum Philippinarum). Many would, afterwards, pit this title of the Deipara against her Immaculate Conception when, almost seven years later, on 12 September 1942, Pope Pius XII, with the bull Impositi Nobis, would declare the latter as the Principal and Universal Patroness of the Philippine Islands (in Latin, Primaria Universalisque Patrona Insularum Philippinarum).

Note: By the end of Spanish rule, the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe was kept as a double major, while the feast of the Immaculate Conception, being patroness of the Spanish Indies and titular of the metropolitan cathedral of Manila, was celebrated as a double of the first class with octave.


16 July A. D. 1902
Ciudad del Santísimo Nombre de Jesús

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Sr. D. Fr. Martín García y Alcocer

A cholera epidemic breaks out in the city of Cebú. The ordinary of the see, the Franciscan Fray Martín García y Alcocer, causes the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Holy Cross to be carried in procession through the main streets of the city to invoke the heavenly aid of the Blessed Mother of God against the epidemic. Since then, the city celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on 16 July, in commemoration of its deliverance from the epidemic.

Note: There are two Virgins of Guadalupe venerated in the archipelago: the first is the image from Mexico in what was formerly known as New Spain; the second is the image from Cáceres in the province of Extremadura in Spain. These two are unrelated devotions, the latter antedating the Mexican image for almost four centuries. Of these two, the Mexican image is more widespread and more known. The Extremaduran image, however, is venerated in many parts of Bohol—Loboc, in particular. They are celebrated with their own proper Masses. The Virgin of Guadalupe in Cebu follows the Mexican archetype.


16 July A. D. 1251
Aylesford or Cambridge

Mary gives the scapular to Saint Simon Stock
The Blessed Virgin gives the scapular to Saint Simon Stock

The Blessed Virgin Mary appears in a vision to Saint Simon Stock, Prior General of the Order of the Carmelites, holding a brown scapular, and saying, “This is for you and yours a privilege; the one who dies in it will be saved.” The brown scapular eventually spreads amongst the people who wish to be affiliated with the Carmelites. Though the historicity of this vision and that of the sabbatine privilege has been seriously questioned in the last century, the devotion to the Blessed Virgin still remains strong with the brown scapular.


16 July A. D. 1212
Las Navas de Tolosa

Santa María Sedano - El triunfo de la Santa Cruz en la batalla de las Navas de Tolosa
El triunfo de la Santa Cruz en la batalla de las Navas de Tolosa | Marceliano Santa María Sedano | 1892

Alphonsus VIII of Castile, Sanctius VII of Navarre, and Peter II of Aragon obtain victory over the Muslims of Iberia. The Cross appears in the sky as the outnumbered Christians press against the Muslims, while the primatial Cross of Toledo penetrates the battle lines, amid the banners bearing the image of the Blessed Virgin, eventually putting to flight the Almohad caliph Muhammad an-Nasir. The Crusade has been organised by Alphonsus VIII; Roderic, metropolitan of Toledo; and Pope Innocent XIII, who mandated a special rogation in Rome a year before.


In former times, the Triumph of the Holy Cross was originally kept on 16 July in the calendar of the Philippines, with Our Lady of Mount Carmel transferred to 21 July. Eventually, the feast days were switched, until finally Our Lady of Mount Carmel was fixed on 16 July and the Triumph of the Holy Cross was moved a day later. However, in some places in the Philippines, such as Carigara in Leyte, the Triumph of the Holy Cross is still kept today.

Saint Bernardine of Siena observes: “No other sin compasses in itself so much wickedness as blasphemy does”. Saint Jerome agrees: “All other sins, therefore, are light compared to blasphemy.” Saint John Chrysostom then commands: “Strike the blasphemer, crush his mouth!” Blasphemy is a grave sin. There is no doubt about it. We must make reparation for these indecencies so carelessly and whimsically thrown to the air, lest the wrath of God descend upon our nation.

Converte nos, Deus, salutaris noster, et averte iram tuam a nobis.

Blood of Christ, save us!

El Greco - El expolio
El expolioΔομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος | 1577–1579

On this feast of the Most Precious Blood of the Lord, which could not have occurred at a more opportune time when persecution is imminent, when the elected ditionis dux entertains no qualms not only in maligning our shepherds, but also in blaspheming God, let us remember the words of one Filipino bishop whose cause for sainthood has been opened. On 25 January 1953, at the opening of the second session of the First Plenary Council of the Philippines, D. Alfredo M.ª Obviar, then administrator of the Diocese of Lucena, delivered a solemn speech on importance of that Council of the Philippine Church, linking it to the Universal Church and Her journey throughout history.

Thus the Church accomplisheth the divine message. It is true that She, in spreading throughout the world to bring the light of the Faith to those who are seated in the shadow of death, had along her steps encountered relentless enemies, who swore Her extermination. There the same in Judea, in Rome, in Asia, in Greece, in Macedonia, as in other parts even unto our present times, Her enemies spare no means to sate their vengeance. There the persecutions are which the Roman emperors promoted against Her. But the Church obtained greater beauty and worth when she bathed in Her own blood.

For Her, the imprisonments, the flagellations, the white-hot sheets, the fire, the cold water, the sword, the racks, the iron hooks, the wheels studded with steel spikes, the teeth and the jaws of the wild beasts, which the hatred of man did know to invent in its mad frenzy, served only, as did other new incentives, to rouse in Her the most intense desire to die for the Faith and for Christ.

She knoweth how to witness with equanimity and serenity in Her visage the slaughter of Her martyrs, who marched unto the arena of the circus to fight against their executioners and against other wild beasts. By the steadfastness of Her children in the Faith, beneath the sickle of persecution, children, adults, the rich and the poor, men and women, popes and bishops, priests and deacons have fallen, with a smile upon their lips, praising Christ and forgiving their executioners.

Así cumple la Iglesia el mensaje divino. Es verdad que ella, al extenderse por todo el orbe para llevar la luz de la fe a los que estaban sentados en la sombra de la muerte, había encontrado a su paso enemigos implacables, que juraron su exterminio. Allí mismo en Judea, en Roma, en Asia, en Grecia, en Macedonia, como en otras partes hasta en los actuales tiempos, sus enemigos no perdonaron medios para saciar su venganza. Allí están las persecuciones que los emperadores romanos promovieron contra ella. Sin embargo la Iglesia cobraba más hermosura y valor cuando se bañaba en su misma sangre.

Para ella las prisiones, la flagelación, las láminas candentes, el fuego, el agua helada, la espada, los potros, las uñas de hierro, las ruedas erizadas de aceradas púas, los dientes y las garras de las bestias feroces, que el odio humano supo inventar en su loco frenesí, sirvieron únicamente como otros nuevos incentivos para despertar en ella el más vivo deseo de morir por la fe y por Cristo.

Ella sabe presenciar con ecuanimidad y serenidad en el semblante la hecatombe de sus mártires, que marchaban a la arena del circo para lidiar contra sus verdugos o contra las fieras. Por la firmeza de sus hijos en la fe, cayeron bajo la hoz de la persecución niños, adultos, ricos y pobres, hombres y mujeres, papas y obispos, sacerdotes y diáconos, con la sonrisa en los labios, alabando a Cristo y perdonando a sus verdugos.

Persecution brings out the best in the Church. Her illustrious sons rise to defend Her. We fly ever more to the Sacraments. “Sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts,” said Saint Peter, “being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.” Parallels in history become quite alarming, especially at a time when everything that the Church steadfastly holds is conveniently explained away as hypocrisy. In the meantime, when freedom has not yet been deprived from us, let us not forget the call made by Saint John XXIII when he approved the Litany of the Precious Blood on 24 February 1960, when he issued the bull Inde a primis: recite or sing the Litany everyday for the whole month of July!

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Lessons for the choir from Saint John

For us charged with the choral office, the feast of Saint John the Baptist bears paramount importance. It is on this feast when, at vespers, we once again sing the hymn that became the basis of the names of the notes of the mediaeval hexachord. Paul the Deacon, to whom authorship of the hymn is ascribed, saw in the 8th century the parallel in his and Zachary’s situation when, scheduled to sing the Exsultet in the Easter Vigil, he instead came down with a sore throat that very day. Needless to say, the anecdote confirms that, indeed, Paul’s throat was healed.

Stanzione - El nacimiento del Bautista anunciado a Zacarías
Annuncio a San Zaccaria della nascita di San Giovanni Battista | Massimo Stanzione | c. 1635

Six months after John’s birth, our Lord was born. Shortly after the birth of the Messiah, Herod the Great ordered the massacre of all male infants, two years and under, in Bethlehem. Only two survived. Christ, Whom Joseph and Mary spirited quickly to Egypt, and John, whom Elisabeth and Zacharias hid in the wilderness. And this nourishes our motley experience in promoting sacred music, our steadfast commitment to preserving Gregorian chant in the life of the Church.

Stanzione - San Juan Bautista se despide de sus padres
San Giovanni Battista dice addio ai suoi genitori | Massimo Stanzione | c. 1635

Our isolation in this seemingly inhospitable part of the Lord’s vineyard, which other workers attempt to compromise by diverting irrigation (Goodbye, 2000-ish-year-old chant! Let’s support music that people want to hear!), adulterating fertiliser (Away with Latin! Nobody understands it these days!), or substituting crops (Hello, alius cantus aptus!) is not for naught. Sweeter is triumph at the height of adversity.

Stanzione - Predicación del Bautista en el desierto
La predicazione di San Giovanni Battista nel deserto | Massimo Stanzione | c. 14635

Sacred music is becoming a stranger in its own home. It is as if we are continuously encouraged towards holiness from one side, and expected to act on this resolve while hearing in the liturgy music bordering on the wanton. Popes, bishops, concerned liturgists have spoken in favour of sacred music. To some Catholics, however, who harbour other notions, obeying such pronouncements, even those enshrined in the blueprints of reforms they so cherish to the point of canonisation, is a pill far bitterer than a quashed ambition. Germane thoughts of solidarity ripple across the vineyard. But when the stewards, his foremen, and their concerned labourers turn to other problems, the determination fizzes out, and we are left again in the wilderness of obedience. The head is willing but the members are weak.

Stanzione - Degollación de San Juan Bautista
La decollazione di San Giovanni Battista | Massimo Stanzione | c. 1635

But what immensely fortifies us most in the duty to which have been called and to which we have responded is the reality of persecution. Every day we labour is a day lived in martyrdom. Not necessarily with blood. Let us not shirk away from this reality, and call upon the guidance of the Precursor of the Lord, whose birth loosened the tongue of his father.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

What child is this?

There is a pious tradition reckoning the feast of Saint John the Baptist as the Summer Christmas. It is, after all, the liturgical feast of the earthly birth of the Precursor of the Lord, Whose proper birth is celebrated six months later, a celebration the Anglosphere calls Christmas. These two and the earthly birth of the Blessed Virgin are the only earthly births the Church celebrates. All other birthdays are heavenly birthdays, coinciding with the martyrdom or the death of a saint.

Gentileschi - Nacimiento de san Juan Bautista
Nascita di San Giovanni BattistaArtemisia Gentileschi | 1633–1635
Bouguereau - La Vierge, l'enfant Jésus et Saint Jean-Baptiste
La Vierge, l’enfant Jésus et Saint Jean-Baptiste | William Adolphe Bouguereau | 1882

That the birth of Saint John the Baptist has a summer character to it has to be underscored as well, because of its scriptural significance. The summer solstice usually falls on 21 June, and after this occurrence, we usually notice the days shortening. The shortest day, that is, the longest night, usually falls within the period of the misas de aguinaldo, and the days will begin to lengthen again after the winter solstice, which usually falls on 21 December. Indeed, even the arrangement of the season reflects the relationship between the Lord and His Precursor. Oportet illum crescere, me autem minui, so saith Saint John.

What child is thisAnd so, today we prepare to celebrate this year’s Johnmass (which forms a triad with Christmas and Ladymass). Compared to Christmas, the feast of Saint John has not been blessed with a vast repertoire of hymns, either in Latin or in the vernacular, even if its vespers hymn is the basis of nomenclature in solfege. Years ago, therefore, we decided to appoint alternative lyrics to one the many tunes associated with Christmas, Greensleeves, which carries the Christmas title What child is this? This Johannine parallel (click the thumbnail to open the file), likewise, uses this same title, having taken the strange opportunity of commemorating in one carol the only three who were born with no original sin: Christ our Lord was sinless; Mary was conceived without original sin; the Lord sanctified Saint John while still in the womb.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Propers of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

In July 2015, with the transfer of our priest, our community found a new home in the parish of the Most Holy Redeemer in Santol, Quezon City. The titular of the parish is, from its name, the Most Holy Redeemer (23 October in the Missal). The patron, on the other hand, is a Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (8 May in the Missal). (Cases where the titular saint and the patron saint of a parish church have been recorded in the Philippines since Spanish times.) In the Extraordinary Form, such feasts are ranked first class in the calendar proper to the parish church, and, therefore, outclass all other liturgical observations of lower rank.

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The parish keeps the feast of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on the first Sunday of June. Thus, on 5 June 2016, we first celebrated this feast. There was a little hiccup to this: the full set of propers for this feast is found neither in the Liber usualis nor in the Graduale Romanum. The introit and the communion are nowhere to be found. (The tract can be found in the 1924 Graduale Romano-Seraphicum, proper to the Franciscans.) We needed to set the missing propers into chant. And, so we did.

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In festo B. M. V. a Sacro CordeThese chants proper to the choir (click the thumbnail to open the file) were first chanted in 2016. In 2017, the parish feast of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was liturgically dislodged from the first Sunday of June in the Extraordinary Form. Pentecost fell on that Sunday, 4 June 2017. The liturgical observance of the feast was on the following 12 June, a Monday, the first unimpeded day after Whitsuntide. This year, 3 June is not impeded, so we have to observe the feast of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, impeding, however, the usual external solemnity of the Corpus Christi after the feast on Thursday.

Let us rejoice and exult in the Lord, for knowing His Name, we hope in Him, Who does not abandon those beseeching Him, and let us beg the intercession of our Blessed Mother, in whom is all the grace of the way and the truth, and all the hope of life and virtue!

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Happy 1985th anniversary!

A blessed Pentecost to everyone! Today, Holy Mother Church celebrates the 1985th anniversary of Her beginning, having been founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who ordained thus that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her.

Pentecost
Pentecôte | Jean II Restout | 1732

EXEVNTE·MDCCCCLXXXV·ANNO
A·PARACLYTO·PER·FILIVM·A·PATRE·EMISSO
QVI·DVM·TAMQVAM·SPIRITVS·VEHEMENS·DESCENDENS
VT·IGNIS·LINGVA·SEDIT·SVPRA·DISCIPVLOS
DEDIT·ECCLESIAE·A·CHRISTO·AEDIFICATAE·EXORDIVM
OMNIBVS·HANC·SENTENTIAM·VISVRIS
SALVTEM·IN·DOMINO·PRO·EIS·DESIDERAMVS
FAVSTISSIMVMQVE·EISDEM·EXITVM·GRATVLAMVR

Vivat Sancta Mater Ecclesia !