BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CNS) — A song by composer Julian Revie, who has “been performing pretty much weekly” as a church organist since he was 11, was performed at the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families Sept. 27 in Philadelphia.
Revie, the composer in residence at the Center for Music and Liturgy of St. Thomas More Chapel at Yale University, composed the piece “The Love of God” as a meditation on Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. The song was sung by a choir of more than 300 adults and a children’s choir and was accompanied by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin.
The selection is part of the Mass of the Divine Shepherd, which Revie composed, and is the first major setting of the Mass in the revised English translation. It premiered at Carnegie Hall in June in front of a nearly sold-out crowd. In attendance was Bridgeport Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, called the concert a “graced moment” for the audience. “The music was magnificent” and people “were clearly moved on many levels,” he told the Fairfield County Catholic, Bridgeport’s diocesan newspaper.
Revie, who lives in Monroe and is part of the Catholic community at the St. Thomas More Chapel at Yale, said that performance alone “would have been a once in a lifetime experience.” And then his song was picked to be performed at the papal Mass on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which drew as close to 1 million people, according to some estimates.
He said the piece was written “to assist the congregation in worthy preparation for Communion. It begins with the chorus singing alone; then they are joined by the orchestra.” At Carnegie Hall, there were more than 650 choristers, for the final part of the piece the children’s chorus enters, he said, adding that the children “to me represent the pure of heart, who shall see God.”
“The real point of the piece, at least for me (is about) radical, sacrificial love, which the children’s chorus was echoing through all humanity.” he explained.
“That this moment, the very moment when my music is being sung and played coincides with Pope Francis as (the) celebrant receiving the Eucharist … this intimate moment of communion between our Eucharistic Christ and his vicar on earth … that’s just awesome to me,” Revie told the Fairfield County Catholic in an interview some days before the pope’s visit to Philadelphia.
He also said Pope Francis inspires him, especially with his recent environmental encyclical “Laudato Si’.”
Revie said that in his hundreds of hours composing music and walking trails, he feels he has grown closer to God.
“Perhaps, by my music, I can share some of the inspiration of the lakes, birds and trees of Monroe with Pope Francis and with the whole church,” he said.
Chu writes for the Fairfield County Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Bridgeport.