Wednesday, 4 August 2010

James MacMillan at Faith

Each year, the Faith Movement invites a guest speaker to the Summer Session to give a lecture outside the chosen theme for the conference, and to bring something new to the experience of the young people gathered at Woldingham.

Today we were privileged to have James MacMillan as our guest speaker. The Gloria, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and Agnus Dei for the Papal Masses at Bellahouston Park and Cofton Park will be his new compositions. (The Kyrie is to be Gregorian Chant - although the Mass he has composed has a Kyrie so that it can be used in parishes.) I understand also that there is to be a setting of the antiphon Tu es Petrus composed by James for the entrance of the Holy Father and before the Introit of the Papal Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

During his talk, James referred to the words of Pope John Paul II in his 1999 letter to artists:
Even beyond its typically religious expressions, true art has a close affinity with the world of faith, so that, even in situations where culture and the Church are far apart, art remains a kind of bridge to religious experience. In so far as it seeks the beautiful, fruit of an imagination which rises above the everyday, art is by its nature a kind of appeal to the mystery. Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul or the most unsettling aspects of evil, artists give voice in a way to the universal desire for redemption.
We were also treated to some extracts from his work which were very striking. He helped us to understand them and to see the powerful spiritual message that can be given in music and poetry.
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