Anscar Chupungco

Dom Anscar Chupungco, O.S.B., STD (10 November 1939 - 9 January 2013) was a Filipino Benedictine monk, who was a noted liturgist, theologian and a mentor to all Filipino liturgists and countless students of the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm in Rome and San Beda College in Manila.[1] He was known for integrating local customs and traditions into the Catholic Mass.<ref name=NCR /[2]


Chupungco was born Herminio Javier Chupungco in Cainta, Rizal, to Estanislao Santo Tomas Chupungco and Dominga Javier. He became a monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat in Manila in 1958 at the age of 19, at which time he was given the religious name of Anscar (Ansgar) after a great Benedictine missionary saint of the 9th century. He was ordained a priest in 1965. He earned his licentiate in philosophy and theology (both magna cum laude) from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and his doctorate in Sacred Theology, specializing in liturgy, from the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm, learning from the scholars in the field who had served as periti (expert consultants) during the Second Vatican Council.

Chupungco became a member of the faculty of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Liturgy in Rome in 1973, the first Filipino to teach there. He was later chosen as the President of the Institute and Rector Magnificus of the Atheneum. He also established the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy in the Philippines in conjunction with the Bishop of Malaybalay (later Archbishop of Manila and cardinal), Gaudencio Rosales. This faculty was to serve as a center for forming liturgists to serve throughout Asia.[3] He was also one of the co-founders of the Maryhill School of Theology, together with four priests from the Missionary Fathers of the Immaculate Heart.<ref name=CBCP /[4]

As a leading expert in liturgy, Chupungco's expertise was sought in all parts of the world. He also produced the Handbook for Liturgical Studies, which is the standard set of textbooks for liturgical education in the world. He was a board member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome.[5]

After Chupungco's term in Rome, he returned to the Philippines and became secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. He was also chosen as Rector of San Beda College and the only person to become rector of three campuses of San Beda College: Mendiola, Rizal, and Alabang.

Chupungco received two honorary degrees: in Humane Letters by the Ateneo de Manila University (July 31, 1996) and in Theology by Catholic Theological Union of Chicago (June 5, 1997).

The University of Santo Tomas honored Chupungco with the Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award in the year 2000. In 2010, he was conferred the Serviam Award by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious McManus Award by the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions of the United States. He was a member of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy during the time it produced the first English language translation of the Roman Missal for use around the world.[5]

In his last years, Chupungco occupied himself with liturgical formation at Paul VI Institute of Liturgy and speaking engagements all over the world. Speaking of recent changes in the liturgical texts mandated by the Holy See, he commented in an address in October 2011 that:

[Liturgical reform] "is being put to task by a movement known as the "reform of the reform". It carries an agenda that can have a regrettable impact on the liturgical gains of the council.

Dark clouds are forming ominously on the western horizon. They move hurriedly and decisively toward the direction of the sun that burns radiantly in the sky. They cast upon it their somber shadows to hide it from view. Suddenly it is dusk before the appointed time.

In reality however the dimness is caused by the passing clouds. I am confident that these cannot put the clock back to yesterday's evening hours.[3]

Chupungco died from a heart attack on 9 January 2013, at the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy in Malaybalay.He had been scheduled to receive the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award from Pope Benedict XVI in a few weeks, to honor him for his decades of service to the Church.[5] His body was to be returned to his abbey for burial.[6]

See also


  1. Pecklers, Keith F. (2006). Liturgy in a Postmodern World. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 75–79. ISBN 978-0-8264-8101-6.
  2. McElwee, Joshua (9 January 2013). "Filipino liturgist, priest Anscar Chupungco dies". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  3. 1 2
  4. "Church's prominent liturgist passes away". CBCP News. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  5. 1 2 3
  6. "What's New OSB". The Order of Saint Benedict. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
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