Pope voices solidarity with musicians hit by COVID

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(ANSA) – VATICAN CITY, FEB 4 – Pope Francis on Thursday
voiced solidarity with musicians hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    “My thoughts go out to all those who have been affected: to the
musicians, who have seen their lives and professions disrupted
by the demands of distancing; to those who have lost their jobs
and social contact; to those who have had to cope, in difficult
contexts, with the necessary training, education and community
life,” Francis said in a video message to the 4th International
Conference on Music, organised by the Pontifical Council for
Culture, in collaboration with the Pontifical Institute of
Sacred Music and the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of the
Ateneo Sant’Anselmo, Vatican News reported.
    He added his hope that “this aspect of social life can also be
reborn, that we can return to singing and playing and enjoying
music together.”
Concluding his video message, Pope Francis asked a question, one
which he says “comes naturally in the situation in which we find
ourselves, caused by the pandemic.” “Is the silence we live empty or are we in the process of
listening? Is it empty or are we in the process of listening?
Will we allow, afterwards, the emergence of a new song?”
The Pope also expressed his hope that participants’ reflections,
on the theme ‘Texts and Contexts’, “may enrich ecclesial
communities and those who work in the field of music, an area
that is very important for liturgy and evangelisation.”
As is well known, noted the Pope, “the Bible has inspired
countless musical expressions, including fundamental pages in
the history of music.”
He offered the examples of Gregorian chant, Palestrina, and Bach
to stress that “it has inspired a great variety of compositions
on the five continents” and that various contemporary composers
have also dealt with the sacred texts.
    “The Church’s musical heritage, in fact, is very varied and has
ample space, in addition to the liturgy, for concert
performances, in schools and catechesis, and even in the
theater,” he adds.
    The Pope then reflected on the importance of silence in music,
saying that “a good musician knows the value of silence, the
value of pause.” “The alternation between sound and silence is fruitful and
allows for listening, which plays a fundamental role in every
dialogue,” he said.
    The common challenge is to listen to each other, he said, noting
that in the liturgy “we are invited to listen to the Word of
Music, too, he added, can help the biblical texts to “speak” in
new and different cultural contexts, so that the divine Word can
effectively reach minds and hearts. (ANSA).


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