Tuesday, October 19, 2010

North American Martyrs feted today in the Universal Church (except in Canada)


The feast was not observed in Canada on September 26 (the date set for Canada's secondary patrons in our liturgical calendar) as it fell on a Sunday.  This is the date when it is celebrated by the Universal Church.  As the focus of our Archdiocese's Pastoral Year is "The Call to Holiness--the Saints Among Us", I have encouraged parishes that wish to do so to celebrate an optional memorial today. 

O God, who chose to manifest the blessed hope of your eternal kingdom by the toil of Saints John de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues and their companions and by the shedding of their blood, grant graciously that, through their intercession, the faith of Christians may be strengthened day by day. Through the Lord.


The Vigil of the Canonization Mass there was a Concert given in Honoour of the Holy Father in the Paul VI Audience Hall to which a good number of visitors were able to join Members of the Middle East Synod and benefactors of the Holy See

Verdi's Requiem Seen as "Cry to the Father"

Benedict XVI described a concert performance of Verdi's "Requiem" as a "moment of true beauty able to lift the spirit."

The Pope said this Saturday after Maestro Enoch zu Guttenberg and the Choir Community Neubeuern and the Orchestra of the KlangVerwaltung performed the piece at a concert in the Holy Father's honor.

In his German and Italian remarks, the Pontiff spoke of the composition as a "great cry to the eternal Father in an attempt to overcome the cry of despair in face of death."

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) wrote the Requiem Mass in 1873 as a tribute to Italian writer and humanist Alessandro Manzoni. The musician had admired Manzoni all his life.

"In the spirit of the great composer, this work should be the apex, the final moment of his musical production," the Pontiff suggested.

"It was not only a tribute to a great writer," he explained, "but also the response to an interior and spiritual artistic need that confrontation with the human and Christian stature of Manzoni aroused in him."

Benedict XVI said that Verdi's "Requiem" expresses with the words of Catholic liturgy and music "the gamut of human sentiments in face of the end of life, man's anguish before his natural frailty, the feeling of rebellion in face of death, disconcert on the threshold of eternity."

Though Verdi described himself as "somewhat of an atheist," the Pope recalled, this Requiem Mass is as "a great cry to the Father, in an attempt to overcome the cry of despair in face of death, to rediscover the aspiration to life which becomes a silent, heartfelt prayer: Libera me Domine."

According to the Pontiff, Verdi also describes man's "spiritual drama" before God, for whom he yearns in the depth of his being as the only One who can give peace and rest (http://www.zenit.org/).

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Back in Ottawa
Monday was the day for my return from Rome and, after my absence, the agenda is full the next few days.  There was a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Canonization of St. Andre Bessette yesterday in Rome presided by Cardinal Turcotte.  Other photos of the recent days in Rome, at the Vatican, will be published in due course.

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