Making Mary known through music


(Goa, India, May 26, 2016) – To commemorate 150 years of the handing over of the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help by Pope Pius IX to the Redemptorists in Rome, the Redemptorists of the vice province of Majella (Goa, Maharashtra, and Mangalore) will hold a special Marian evening in honour of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at St Alex Church, Calangute, Bom Jesus Basilica and Holy Spirit Church, Margao. Classical singers from Mumbai who have formed a choir will present a concert titled ‘Ave Maria’ featuring Marian hymns with the purpose of making Mary known through music.

The Redemptorist fathers and brothers were given the world famous icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help by Pope Pius IX in 1865 with the charge to ‘Make her known to the whole world.’ For 150 years the Redemptorists fathers and brothers have spread devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help through novena, catechesis, prayers, distribution of pictures, pilgrimages, shrines, processions and installing the picture of the icon in churches, chapels and communities in all continents of the world and practically every country in the world and in a special way in India and in Goa.

The Redemptorist fathers and brothers have three communities in Goa located at Sanquelim, Porvorim and Varca. The Redemptorists have been in Goa for nearly forty-seven years and have been involved in preaching the Gospel to all specially the poor and abandoned through parish missions, retreats, seminars, and novenas. They have also been involved in social work for ramponkars, domestic workers, migrant workers, and other struggling groups in society. They have been contributing towards the training and formation of the clergy of Goa through homiletics courses, retreats, ongoing formation and social enlightenment programs. They also work with ‘Sangam’, a group of lay people working for an informed and enlightened laity in the Church and with TNNS (Trust of Nano Nagle School) in Margao, an English medium school for slum children.

“There will be a short explanation of the story and the meaning of the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help followed by the concert and prayer and a blessings,” says vice provincial superior of vice province of Majella, Fr Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C Ss R.

Classical singers from Mumbai will present a concert featuring Marian hymns with the purpose of making Mary known through music. The Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy, formed in 1984, is the realisation of a dream, which began as The Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble, under its conductor, Alfred D’Souza. Encompassing the promotion of music, dance and drama it has left an indelible mark on the Mumbai music scene.

Performances of The Stop-Gaps range from serious classical to effervescent jazz and pop. Not only has the generation gap been bridged, but religious, economic and social barriers have also been broken through song.

“The group consists of highly-placed professionals, school and college students, as well as people in service and retired persons, between sixteen years to seventy years and over, belonging to different faiths and communities from various regions in India,” says Fr Ivel.

Known for singing eighteen different versions of Ave Maria, the group has represented India at various Choir Festivals and competitions, including the Festival International de Change Choral de Nancy, France, 1995 and 2002 and the closing celebrations of Israel’s 50th anniversary of Independence in 1998 in concerts at Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth besides others. The ensemble has also performed by special invitation at Stuttgart, Berlin and Munich in Germany, Liege in Belgium, at Vatican, Rome for a Papal audience with the late Pope John Paul II, and in Paris, France.

The Stop-Gaps is an organisation with heart, having organised and performed concerts – free of charge – to support several charities. Through international exposure, The Stop-Gaps endeavour is to live up to their motto, ‘Bridging the world with song’.

(The Marian concerts will be held on Saturday, May 28, 6 p.m. at St Alex Church, Calangute; May 29, Sunday, 4.15 p.m. at Bom Jesu Basilica, Old Goa and at 7.30 p.m. at Holy Spirit Church, Margao. Entry free. Open to all)

NT BUZZ reports