INSTITUTION OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE III INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF THE CHOIRS IN THE VATICAN
Paul VI Hall
Saturday, November 24th 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
your presence in this House allowed to resonate music and songs that somehow went beyond the walls: you have awakened the Vatican! It is nice to listen to your melodies and to feel the joy and the seriousness with which you give voice all together to the beauty of our prayer. I thank Archbishop Rino Fisichella for his creativity and his words and for the initiative that allows you to touch the many paths of evangelization.
In recent days, as you know, the Synod of Bishops took place, dedicated to young people, and a topic that was treated with interest was precisely that of music: "The importance of music, which is a real and an environment in which young people are constantly immersed, as well as a culture and language capable of arousing emotions and shaping identity. Musical language also represents a pastoral resource, which particularly challenges the liturgy and its renewal »(Final Document, 47).
Your music and your singing are a true instrument of evangelization insofar as you witness to the profundity of the Word of God that touches the hearts of people, and allow a celebration of the sacraments, especially of the Holy Eucharist, which makes one perceive the beauty of paradise. Never stop in this commitment so important for the life of our communities; in this way, with the song you give voice to the emotions that are deep in everyone's heart. In moments of joy and sadness, the Church is called to be always close to people, to offer them the company of faith. How many times music and song make these moments unique in people's lives, because they preserve them as a precious memory that has marked their existence.
The Second Vatican Council, realizing the renewal of the liturgy, reiterated that the "musical tradition of the Church constitutes a heritage of inestimable value" (Const. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 112). That's it. I think, in particular, of the many traditions of our communities scattered throughout the world, which bring out the most rooted forms in popular culture, and which also become a real prayer. That popular piety that can creatively pray, that can sing creatively; that popular piety which, as an Italian bishop said, is the Church's "immune system". And singing carries on this piety. Through these music and songs voice is also given to prayer and in this way a real international choir is formed, where in unison the praise and glory of his people rises to the Father of all.
Your presence, while highlighting the internationality of your respective countries, allows us to grasp the universality of the Church and its different traditions. Your song and your music, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, make it clear that we are one body and sing one single faith with one voice. Even if we speak different languages, everyone can understand the music we sing with, the faith we profess and the hope that awaits us.
You study and prepare to make your song a melody that favors prayer and liturgical celebration. Do not fall, however, in the temptation of a protagonism that overshadows your commitment, and humiliates the active participation of the people in prayer. Please do not be a "opera star singer". Be animators of the song of the whole assembly and do not replace it, depriving the people of God to sing with you and to give witness to an ecclesial and community prayer. Sometimes I get sad when, in some ceremonies, you sing so well but people can not sing those things ... You who have understood more deeply the importance of singing and music, do not devalue the other expressions of popular spirituality: the patronal feasts, processions, dances and religious songs of our people are also a true patrimony of religiosity that deserves to be valued and sustained because it is still an action of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the Church. The Spirit in singing helps us to move forward.
Music, therefore, is an instrument of unity to make the Gospel effective in today's world, through the beauty that still fascinates and makes it possible to believe by relying on the love of the Father.
I accompany you with my blessing and I entrust you to St. Cecilia, your Patroness, but above all I ask you not to forget to pray for me; pray for me also with your song! Thank you!