Musical tributes to new Saints at Dublin Concerts
Soon to be saints, Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII will be remembered, in song and prayer, at the Emmanuel concerts involving Dublin students next week. The two Popes will be canonised by Pope Francis at a special ceremony in the Vatican on April 23rd.
The Emmanuel Concert Series for 2014 was launched today (Wednesday) in Crosscare’s Migrant Rights Centre, by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.
Emmanuel 2014 is an initiative of the Archdiocese.The first concert took place in 2004. 2,100 students from 61 schools attend workshops learning various styles of liturgical music from plainchant to contemporary. They then join hundreds of others, live on stage in the Helix, to perform over three nights. The students go on use this music in their own liturgies throughout the year and it is also learned and adapted in parishes.
This year, to mark the canonisation of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII on 27th April, organisers of the concerts commissioned a commemorative video which has students singing in Polish, Irish, English and Swahili. One Dublin school had 15 first and second generation Polish pupils take part. At the press launch, Irish and Polish students linked up via Skype to Marklowice in Poland where they sang in chorus with Polish students from the Szkoła Podstawowa.
Speaking at the launch, Archbishop Martin said “There is a sense in which, in so many ways, the Church has lost its sense of fun. Pope Francis never lost his sense of fun which he skilfully uses to disarm those who would want to make the Church a place for the dull and the stolid. My first hope this morning, therefore, is that those who take part in Emmanuel this year will thoroughly enjoy themselves. It is one of the biggest annual gatherings of secondary school pupils across Ireland, in which all take part, not as spectators, but as active and enthusiastic participants in a common project. It is good to see that this can be achieved within a specifically catechetical and religious context.”
Referring to recent debates on the place of religion in the school curriculum the Archbishop said “if we get stuck just in discussions about the hours and minutes – and I am not saying that this is not important – we may assert our legitimate rights, but miss out on the enthusiasm and the participatory dimension which religious education should foster.”
Blessed John XXXIII and Blessed John Paul II, will be remembered at each Emmanuel concert each night with the special rendition of “We will walk with God” sung in four different languages.
You can view the video on https://vimeo.com/87271209
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s address
Before coming here this morning I wanted to check that I had my facts and figures correct and that I was on-focus about exactly what Emmanuel is, both in its original inspiration and in what those who participate in it consider it to be.
So I asked around my own staff what they understood Emmanuel to be. I was told, quite correctly, that it is an initiative of the Archdiocese of Dublin on liturgical music, in which almost 60 second level schools from right across the diocese take part, from Arklow to Balbriggan, from Dunlavin to Swords and many schools in Dublin city and county, including this year Saint Mary’s Girls School for the Deaf. All correct information! But the best answer I got was: “What is Emmanuel? It’s learning Church music in a fun kind of way”.
There is a sense in which in so many ways the Church has lost its sense of fun. Pope Francis never lost his sense of fun, which he skilfully uses it to disarm those who would want to make the Church a place for the dull and the stolid.
My first hope this morning, therefore, is that those who take part in Emmanuel this year will thoroughly enjoy themselves. It is one of the biggest annual gatherings of secondary school pupils across Ireland, in which all take part, not as spectators, but as active and enthusiastic participants in a common project. It is good to see that this can be achieved within a specifically catechetical and religious context.
There has been controversy recently about the place of religious education within the busy current school curriculum. But if we get stuck just in discussions about the hours and minutes – and I am not saying that this is not important – we may assert our legitimate rights, but miss out on the enthusiasm and the participatory dimension which religious education should foster.
Faith is not conformism. Faith must be creative and imaginative. Faith formation involves not passive learning, but an involvement where the young person can establish bridges between his or her own life and ambition and talent, and the message of Jesus Christ and his truth, which truly makes us free.
The challenge for the faith community here in Dublin is to ensure that our faith education is not simply passive provision of knowledge and information but something challenging and deeply personal. Faith education must however also lead beyond the purely personal into commitment inspired by the Christian faith to be lead a different life style – a demanding one, a counter cultural one, a generous one, one in which excellence in education and the flourishing of personal talent break out into an understanding that the gifts we have are to be used to create a different world. Education does not begin and end with just myself; education is about how I flourish through giving myself and my talents for the common good of all.
A gathering around liturgical music can lead to a deeper understanding of the basic roots of that music and the wisdom it contains, especially the wisdom of the psalms which have been the songs of believers for centuries, as they reflect on how God cares for his people on their life’s journey.
Finally there can be no real understanding of liturgical music which does not lead the young person to a sense of prayer and participation in the worship life of the Church. Liturgical music can make a good concert, but the real concert must be a concert of worship of God in the liturgy of the Church, which must not be dull and stolid, but must also pass through fun to true joy and fulfilment in Jesus Christ.
Notes to Editors
The Emmanuel Concerts will be held in the Helix in Dublin on March 4th, 5th and 6th. 2,100 secondary school students from 61 schools will take part.
Taking part for the third year are the students from St. Mary’s School for the Deaf in Cabra who will sign the music of the concerts. Tickets for the Concerts are available at www.thehelix.ie or www.litmus.dublindiocese.ie RTÉ will broadcast a programme on the Emmanuel Concerts on Sunday 30th March at 11.00am on RTÉ One Television and at 11.45am on RTÉ Radio 1xtra / LW252/ digital platforms. Photos available from John Mc lroy Photos 087 2416985.
Further information: Annette O Donnell, 087 8143462