Music for Pope Benedict XVI’s Mass at Nationals Park will reflect Archdiocese’s diversity

March 25, 2008

When Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass at Nationals Park on April 17 he will hear four choirs totaling 570 members from across the Archdiocese of Washington, singing in ten languages.

He will hear a 65-voice Intercultural Choir with members from 35 countries singing in French, Zulu and Spanish, among others. A 250-voice Papal Mass Choir and a 175-voice Children’s Choir will sing in Latin. The uplifting sound of an 80-voice Gospel Choir will ring out across the stadium.

The musical program for the Mass was chosen by an archdiocesan committee, with approval from the Vatican. “It is music that represents our long Catholic and Christian tradition and the current diversity of our church,” said Tom Stehle, director of music for the Mass and pastoral associate for liturgy and music at Our Lady of Mercy parish in Potomac, Maryland. In the Archdiocese of Washington, nearly 580,000 Catholics worship in more than 20 languages at 140 parishes.

Musical highlights:

During the processions and prelude the program includes:

• All choirs performing the opening Spiritual “Plenty Good Room,” newly arranged by Washington Symphonic Brass founder, Phil Snedecor.
• The Children’s Choir singing “Send Forth Your Spirit” by Andrew Wright and “Ave Verum” by Mozart.
• The Gospel Choir singing “I Call upon You God” by Leon Roberts and “Lord Make Me an Instrument” by Roger Holland.
• The Papal Mass Choir singing “Sing Aloud Unto God Our Strength” by Daniel Nelson and “Spirit of God Within Me” by Robert LeBlanc.
• The Intercultural Choir singing “Let’Isikia” arranged by Tracy McDonnell and “Source d’eau Vive” by C.E. Haugel.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]