Jesuit Communications Foundation (JesCom) celebrated the momentous dual launch of Bukas Palad Music Ministry’s album “Behold the Risen Lord” and Fr.Manoling Francisco’s book “To Gaze upon the Lord’s Face”, in a festive prayer-concert held March 24, Sunday afternoon at the Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University.
In his opening remarks, esteemed liturgical composer, Fr.Manoling Francisco SJ addressed the thrilled, jam-packed Church of the Gesu audience with a narration of Mother Teresa’s touching encounter with a Hindu man and his family.
“Today, as we celebrate the Lenten season, it would be good to remember that it’s not the intensity of hunger pangs that matter. It’s not how many callouses or wounds we bear from selself-flagellationod tells us ‘It is your contrite heart that I delight in’. As we celebrate Lent, may all our sacrifices be rooted and motivated for our ever deepening love for our Lord and one another.”
Following the curtain-raising number, “No Greater Love than Yours”, Fr.Manoling fervently shared his reflections on the powerful symbol of Christ’s Cross.
“Jesus remains faithful to his mission, of proclaiming and embodying the Father’s inclusive love. Jesus remains faithful to us, to the point of death on the cross. We pray for grace that, we too, might be faithful to our respective vocations- just as Jesus faithfully proclaimed God’s love for all.”
After a performance of “Dakilang Pag-ibig”, Fr.Manoling then spoke of the poignant message of the Paschal Mystery.
“There is only one recurring theme throughout the Paschal Mystery- it proclaims the victory of divine love. From Good Friday to Easter Sunday, divine love proclaims victorious ultimately over death. This is also what our newest CD proclaims. Amidst the culture of violence and corruption, ultimately love will win. Ultimately, love always wins.”
Succeeding the back to back singing of “Tagumpay ng Pag-ibig” and “Glory to God , Bukas Palad co-founder Norman Agatep recounted the group’s long journey in producing their 21st album.
“It’s not easy to write and produce music about the great mysteries of our faith. These 13 new songs are designed as a fitting accompaniment for our personal reflection and prayer. We hope that through this music, we may encounter the many gifts and graces of Christ’s glorious resurrection.”
John Basil Dungo and Theresa Maymay led and enlivened the gallery by singing the Responsorial Psalm compositions “My Soul Longs for You” and “Salmo 118”. Jenny Matteo then read an excerpt from Fr.Manoling’s homily, “Worship through Witness”, to introduce the Communion hymns “Pakikinabang” and “Bread of Life”, both of which Martin Perfecto gladly led the audience.
After Bukas Palad’s stirring rendition of “Come and See”, Ana Galvez narrated a piece from Fr.Manoling’s sermon “Lifting the Burden of Others”. Meanwhile, longtime member Ali Figueroa took the lead for missioning songs, “Veni Creator Spiritus”, “Send Forth your Spirit” and “Sa Iyong Muling Pagkabuhay”.
Cholo Malilin invigorated the crowd with “Savior of my Soul”, following another reading from Fr.Manoling’s reflection “When Suffering Becomes a Virtue”. John Basil Dungo and Michelle Ching then expressed Bukas Palad’s sincere gratitude for JesCom’s integral role as album producer, under the leadership of Executive Director Fr.Emmanuel Alfonso SJ, together with Jesuit Music Ministry’s Lester Mendiola and Rey Malipot.
Fr.Manoling then took the opportunity to offer a moment of silence, to pray for the Christchurch, New Zealand shooting victims, Mozambique earthquake casualties, and displaced Mindanaoans due to armed conflict.
Joined onstage by other members of Bukas Palad, the choir delighted the faithful once more, singing and dancing in unison to thanksgiving tune “We are Truly Blessed” and the upbeat “Alleluia:Mercy is God’s Name”. With their ardent fans yearning for more, Bukas Palad delivered a spectacular encore of their beloved hits “In my Heart”, “Children of Easter Morn” and “I will Sing Forever”, to finally conclude a wonderful afternoon of music and prayer.