A hymn to wake the globe

Steve Warner Steve Warner

Preaching in the fourth century, St. Augustine is supposed to have mentioned that a man or woman who sings prays twice. Scholars have quibbled about the attribution more than the centuries since, but regardless of whether or not the words are truly Augustine’s, Christians at worship have constantly taken them as correct.

Steve Warner definitely has. As director of the University of Notre Dame Folk Choir, he operates in an spot where overall performance art and pastoral theology intersect, freely admitting that “I’ve come to request, in all my varied labors with this ensemble, a simple question. Why do I proceed to do what I do, except for God? Why pour so significantly time and vitality into diphthongs, consonants, standing order in the choir loft, repertoire selection, tuning, glottal stops, breathing techniques, except for God? Except for our capability to touch the human heart, to allow music to effect a conversion knowledge, an ineffable, inescapable landscape of joy and which means to this existence. Why do any of it, except for this holy purpose?”

Warner’s varied labors incorporate the composition of hymns, and a lot of of these hymns have turn into acquainted to Catholic parishioners during the English-speaking globe. “Set Your Heart on the Greater Gifts,” “Make of Our Hands a Throne,” “Crux Fidelis” and Warner’s musical setting of the Lord’s Prayer are all sung and prayed in churches far from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the place Warner and the Folk Choir sing and pray each Sunday at the 11:45 a.m. Mass.

His most latest composition, “Wake the Planet with Dawning Joy,” debuted Sunday (Nov. 9) in Chicago at a Mass concluding the 2014 convocation of the Nationwide Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC).

The hymn was commissioned by the NRVC for the 2015 Year of Consecrated Lifestyle, an observance designated by Pope Francis to renew and reinvigorate the lives and ministries of Catholic religious guys and girls around the world and to invite young Catholics to consider religious lifestyle.

The kernel of the hymn’s lyrics comes from a single of those off-the-cuff remarks for which Pope Francis is more and more popular. In conversation with a group of superiors from numerous religious orders last 12 months, the Pope mentioned that “the Church need to be eye-catching. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a distinct way of carrying out issues, of acting, of living! It is possible to live differently in this planet … It is this witness I count on of you. Religious should be guys and females who are ready to wake the globe up.”

“Pope Francis’ phrases caught the interest of a amount of religious guys and girls,” stated Patrice Tuohy, executive director of the NRVC. “I sent Steve the ‘wake up the world’ quote along with some scripture estimates and some suggestions of what we wanted in the song in terms of themes and tone. The principal issue we wanted was for the song to be upbeat and singable so that parishes will be in a position to use the song in liturgies during the Yr of Consecrated Life and beyond. Steven met and exceeded our expectations for the song in his ‘Wake the Planet with Dawning Joy.’ It captures the spirit and the hope of religious existence. It is inspiring and uplifting and displays core gospel values.”

“It’s unusual — at least, for me it is uncommon — to construct a hymn all around the words of a Pope instead of close to individuals of scripture or standard theology,” Warner says. “But in this one particular, I was able to take that marvelous imperative, ‘wake up the world,’ apply it to the theological virtues of faith, hope and really like, and wrap them all in joy, generating it a kind of ‘missioning’ hymn. I genuinely hope that when we sing it, we’ll comprehend a small better what it means to be sent forth.”

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