Songwriter for the Lord

by Margaux Salcedo

He would be the last to admit it but Father Carlo Magno Marcelo is a national treasure.

Many do not know the humble priest but definitely we know his songs.

He has written and composed over 70 songs since he started writing as assistant secretary to Jaime Cardinal Sin in 1996.

Jubilee Song

His first project was an assignment for the Novo Millennio Ineunte. The Archbishop of Manila, who had found out that Fr. Carlo knew how to play the organ, asked him to create a song for the Jubilee Year 2000.

He composed and wrote the Jubilee Song which became an instant hit. It also gave Fr. Carlo his first Awit Award for Best Inspirational Song. The Awit Award is the most prestigious award in the Philippines for outstanding achievements in the music industry.

The Jubilee Song has since been translated into several languages including Korean, Japanese, Hindi, French, and Chamorro. The song also won the Catholic Book Authors Award as a literary piece.

Liturgical Lyricist and Composer

His next hit was Only Selfless Love, again commissioned by Cardinal Sin, this time for the 4th World Meeting of Families that would be hosted by the Philippines. The song got the approval of the Vatican and became the official song for the event.

But aside from the Vatican, Only Selfless Love in 2003 also got the nod from the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI), which votes on the Awit Awards, and the song garnered not only one but two Awit Awards: one for Best Inspirational Song and another for Song of the Year.

For the Quadricentennial Anniversary of the first ordination of a Filipino priest, Fr. Carlo was once again commissioned by Cardinal Sin to write a song. He wrote and composed Paring Pilipino, which was thereafter recorded by the Bukas Palad