December 2009 – January 2010
Vol. XV, No. 9
News and Views
A throng of 22,000 teenagers flooded the streets of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, for a Eucharistic procession held during the 2009 National Catholic Youth Conference, November 19-21.
The event, sponsored by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, and hosted by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, drew youth from all over the United States, as well as 30 bishops, 200 priests, many deacons and religious, and 1,500 volunteers.
The Eucharistic procession was the first in the history of the NCYC.
Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, who celebrated the Mass held at the Spirit Center, thanked the NCYC organizers and others in a post on The Catholic Key November 23. His message concluded:
The Holy Spirit did powerful work, the extent of which we will never know this side of heaven. And our young people welcomed Him into their hearts. We can be proud that we had some small part in forming apostles and disciples in the “young Church”. Young Church: I thank you all for coming! You are the Gaudium et Spes — the Joy and Hope — of the Church in the modern world.
Our goal and inspiration, of course, was Jesus Christ our King. The theme “Christ Reigns” was more than a theme. We made it our prayer. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and move toward Advent, please join me in begging Him to be King of our hearts; of our homes, our communities, and our world.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, led a prayer session on November 20. Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento is national moderator of the NCYC.
A meeting of Pope Benedict XVI with artists took place in the Sistine Chapel on November 21. More than 260 painters, sculptors, architects, writers and musicians accepted the Vatican’s invitation to participate.
The meeting, organized by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, observed the tenth anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists” (April 4, 1999), as well as the meeting of Pope Paul VI with artists forty-five years ago (May 7, 1964).
Archbishop Ravasi said that this meeting of the pope with artists is prompted by a desire to renew a fruitful alliance between the Church and art.
The invited artists included Catholics and other Christians as well as non-believers. The event included a performance by the Sistine Chapel choir of choral works by 16th-century composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and an address to the assembled artists by Pope Benedict. Each participant also received a special medal for the occasion.
In his 2007 apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, which followed the 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, Pope Benedict XVI had called for a compendium on the eucharist — intended to be a concise summary of the Church’s essential teachings and directives on the liturgy.
Pope Benedict explained the usefulness of such a compendium:
I also wish to accept the proposal which the Synod Fathers advanced as a means of helping the Christian people to believe, celebrate and live ever more fully the mystery of the Eucharist. The competent offices of the Roman Curia will publish a Compendium which will assemble texts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, prayers, explanations of the Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Missal and other useful aids for a correct understanding, celebration and adoration of the Sacrament of the Altar. It is my hope that this book will help make the memorial of the Passover of the Lord increasingly the source and summit of the Church’s life and mission. This will encourage each member of the faithful to make his or her life a true act of spiritual worship.
(Sacramentum Caritatis §93)
The Compendium Eucharisticum was presented to the Holy Father by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on October 21. The Latin version of Compendium Eucharisticum is now available from the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Translations into other languages will appear presently.
Pope Benedict XVI commented on the “spiritual and universal language” of music following a piano concert in his honor on October 17, where Chinese pianist Jin Ju performed works by Scarlatti, Mozart, Beethoven, Czerny, Tchaikovsky and Liszt.
“This concert has, once again, permitted us to taste the beauty of music, a spiritual and therefore universal language, a vehicle so importantly suited to understanding and union between persons and peoples”, Pope Benedict said.
Music is a part of all cultures and, we might say, accompanies every human experience, from pain to pleasure, from hatred to love, from sadness to joy, from death to life. We see how, over the course of the centuries and millennia, music has always been used to give a form to that which we are not able to speak in words, because it awakens emotions that are difficult to communicate otherwise. So it is not by chance that every civilization has placed such importance and value on music in its various forms and expressions.
Music, great music, gives the spirit repose, awakens profound sentiments and almost naturally invites us to lift up our mind and heart to God in every situation, whether joyous or sad, of human existence. Music can become prayer.
The concert was held in the Paul VI hall, and was organized by the Accademia Internazionale di Imola.
The National Catholic Youth Choir is accepting applications from high-school singers for its 2010 summer camp. The camp will be held June 15-29 on the campus of Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.
Dr. Axel Theimer, the choir’s conductor and Father Anthony Ruff, OSB, founding director and chaplain, are seeking Catholic vocalists entering grades 10, 11, and 12 in 2011. The experience includes classical and modern music with intensive daily choir rehearsals, cantor training, vocal education, music and religion classes, liturgies and concert tour.
Applications are due March 8, 2010, the cost is $900, scholarships available. A CD from the 2009 summer camp may be ordered. For further information and application visit www.catholicyouthchoir.org.