Concert to pay tribute to new Catholic saints

Over 2,000 students from 61 schools to sing in four languages at series of Dublin concerts

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin speaking to choral students from Colaiste Mhuire, Cabra, Colaiste Bhríde, Clondalkin, and Holy Faith in Killester and Clontarf at the launch of the Emmanuel Concert Series for 2014.This years concerts will remember soon to be saints John Paul II and John XXIII in song and prayer. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin speaking to choral students from Colaiste Mhuire, Cabra, Colaiste Bhríde, Clondalkin, and Holy Faith in Killester and Clontarf at the launch of the Emmanuel Concert Series for 2014.This years concerts will remember soon to be saints John Paul II and John XXIII in song and prayer. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 13:56

More than 2,000 students from 61 schools in the Dublin diocese will mark the canonisation of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII at a series of concerts at Dublin’s Helium Theatre next month.

Details of the Emmanuel Concert Series for 2014 were announced by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin at an event in Dublin this morning.

A group of students from several schools across Dublin linked up via Skype with students from Szkola Podstawowa in Marklowice, southern Poland, before Dr Martin officially launched the event.

An initiative of the Archdiocese of Dublin, the Emmanuel concert series was described by Dr Martin as “learning Church music in a fun kind of way” and also as a means by which the Church can reach out to young people.

“It’s a big gathering of secondary school children. It’s very participatory; it’s not just a spectator sport. They all put a huge amount of effort into it,” he said.

“ It’s great to see that you have a gathering like that around a liturgical and a religious dimension. The church has to reach out in a very different way to young people and not to be telling them what to do but by allowing them to find their own place within the church.”

“We have to have a slightly more lively church rather than a stolid, dull, sort of place and I hope this will open something for these young people into what religion is about,” Dr Martin said.

Pope John XXIII, who established the Second Vatican Council, was likened by Dr Martin to Pope Francis. Dr Martin said he felt “a bit sorry” that people have forgotten a pope who had “brought about major change in the Church”

“He’s a little bit like Pope Francis - he surprised everybody. He was only pope a few weeks when he announced an ecumenical council which hadn’t been held in hundreds of years. He had these ideas from the very beginning and he brought about great change.”

“Pope Francis has a sense of fun. But, he uses his sense of fun to dismay some of those who are a little bit more cautious and careful and it’s a good way to do it sometimes.”

Both popes will be remembered at each concert with a rendition of We will walk with God sung in four languages.

A video to mark the event has been produced and features students singing in Polish, Irish, English and Swahili.

The Emmanuel Concerts will be held in the Helix in Dublin on March 4th, 5th and 6th.