1/6/08 – Missa Benedictus qui venit

There’s no doubting that World Youth Day is fast approaching (yes, it’s only 6 weeks to go!).  The general advice to all of us is to get prepared for the biggest event Sydney’s ever seen.

In addition to finding volunteers, arranging homestays and planning massive barbeques, there are also liturgical preparations to be made.  The three days of catechesis here in Wentworthville will at the very least include reconciliation and Mass.  On the 16 July (our Parish Feast Day) we will have an evening prayer service open to all.

Parishes have also been asked to become familiar with music that has been specially written for WYD.  In particular, a new musical setting of the parts of the Mass has been written, titled Missa Benedictus qui venit.  Parishioners at our 6:00 p.m. Vigil Mass have already started to learn the Mass, and our 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses are likely to start hearing and singing the music from this weekend.

The Mass has been written by composer and NSW Supreme Court Judge George Palmer.  It was selected from a collection of works submitted by various composers.  In calling for submissions, the WYD organisers sought a new work that reflected the joy of the occasion.  They were also well aware that the many thousands of people coming do not share a single language and would not all know a single Mass setting.

Consequently, when you listen to the Mass for the first time, you will find a lot of use of refrains and call-and-response patterns between a cantor/choir and the assembly; this allows the assembly to join in more easily and repeat the song leaders.  Given also that not all pilgrims and WYD participants will speak English, some Latin text has been used as it is the universal language of the Church.  The music for the Kyrie (Lord, have mercy) has been set to the traditional Greek text.

I encourage everyone to join in singing these parts of the Mass as we prepare for this unique event and share something of ourselves and our faith with the world.

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