Margaret Cavanaugh: Michigan Artisan of Stained Glass
Image source: MichiganStainedGlass.org

The celebration of the Filipino Thanksgiving mass this year in Michigan was another milestone in the long tradition of this yearly event.

The Thanksgiving mass was held again at St. Hugo of the Hills church on Opdyke Road, Bloomfield Hills at 11 a.m. last Nov. 24.
Five Filipino choirs sang at the mass.

During this yearly event, Catholic Filipino-Americans gather as a community to pray to and praise God and “give our heartfelt thanks for all His blessings to us, to the United States of America and to the Philippines.”

It is a beautiful tradition started 28 years ago by the Philippine Medical Association of Michigan (PMAM) which was then headed by Dr. Roberto Barretto as president with Buddy Ostrea as choir director.

This tradition continues up to the present, and PMAM now headed by president Dr. Sonia Fernando again hosted the mass this year.

The mass was unique in that the hymns and psalms were sung in Tagalog. These were initially composed by Philippine National Artist Lucio San Pedro who arranged them. Later, these were arranged by Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros, SJ, and Fr. Manuel Francisco, SJ.

This year, with a generous grant by the UP Michigan chapter of the Medical Alumni Society of America, Raymond Roldan was commissioned to compose new songs for the mass.

Roldan is the composer of the beautiful musicale, “Song of Joseph,” which was presented last year by the UP Alumni Association of Michigan.

For the first time, the hymns and psalms were sung by a choir composed of the different Filipino choral groups. These included the Philippine Chorale and the choirs of the Kapulungan ng mga Katolikong Pilipino ng Michigan (KKPM), Isang Binhi, Spirit of Love and Bukas Loob sa Diyos.

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PMAM members who undertook the preparations for the mass were Dr. Adoring Chang, event committee chairperson; Dr. Marjorie Alvir, vice chairperson; and PMAM President Fernando.