An elated Ryan Cayabyab still can’t “fathom” the great significance of the Papal Award Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice he received last Dec. 21 at the Chapel of Villa San Miguel in that he never expected to be rewarded beyond the joy of making the musical compositions he has created for the church through the years.
“Everytime I write new mass, gumagawa lang ako kasi I like doing it. At 6 or 7 years old ay kumakanta na ako as choir member in mass said either in Latin or English so that kind of music has always been an influence. Ang sarap gumawa ng ganitong klaseng work because the beauty of the prayers lends to the music effortlessly,” said he in an exclusive interview.
The Papal Award Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice is the highest medal that is awarded to the laity by the Papacy for distinguished service to the church. It can be given to the clergy or to lay people. Ryan’s compositions for the church include numerous choral pieces, six congregational masses, two Latin masses, sacred songs, psalms, and three musicals with religious themes (“Magnificat,” “Ang Birhen ng Caysasay” and “Lorenzo”).
The award includes a gold medal, a pin and a certificate. The Cayabyabs plan to go to Rome next year with Ryan saying that when worn, the medal supposedly allows the owner to enter the household of the Pope in the Vatican and to go anywhere inside.
All the songs in the Pontifical Mass held Saturday were composed by Ryan and sung by members of The Philippine Madrigal Singers, The Ateneo Chamber Singers and former members of The San Miguel Master Chorale under the baton of Jonathan Velasco.
“Na-touch ako sa sinabi ni Archbishop Socrates Villegas sa homily about the award. Sabi niya, ‘It is not the number of sacred music Ryan has created that merits the award but the love he gave in writing every piece,’” he said, smiling.
Ryan’s “Miserande Atque Eligendo,” with lyrics by Fr. Soc based on the motto of Pope Francis, was also premiered during the mass. It was performed by Sandalphone, a choir based in the EDSA Shrine. (Jojo Panaligan/mb.com.ph)