Cathedral to host Choral Vespers worship service: A sung meditation on the Passion of Christ

Marco Carvalho

The Diocesan Choir and the Cathedral Schola of Macau will once again team up this Saturday afternoon with the aim of offering local Catholics a Lenten Choral Vespers prayer service.

The initiative proposes a reflection on the Lord’s Passion, through prayer, sacred music and Bible readings: “In the careful consideration of the contents of this service, deliberate efforts have been paid to reflect the Saviour’s journey of suffering and death for His people,” António Wong, the choral director of both choirs, told O Clarim.

“Scriptures and music will be presented in depiction of selected moments from the Way of the Cross. These are united in serving a two-fold purpose of encouraging the faithful in internalizing the Saviour’s Passion in the hearts and, to ultimately prepare us all, in better disposition for the participation of the Paschal Triduum in the week that follows,” the young maestro adds.

The idea of introducing a Choral Vespers prayer service during the most significant liturgical periods of the year was first put forward by the Cathedral Schola of Macau a few years ago with the intention to bring the faithful together, so that they could reflect on the Sacred Scriptures.

The Diocesan Choir joined the worship service two years ago, a move which is seen by António Wong as an opportunity to showcase the talent and the creativity of the Diocese of Macau’s Youth Choir: “It has been a good few years since the Cathedral Schola introduced a regular Choral Vespers event, with the aim of bringing together members of the faithful through an evening of sacred music and Scriptural reflections,” Mr. Wong recalls.

“Over the last two years, with the intention of promoting the work of the Diocesan Choir, the two choirs have joined forces in providing a prayerful choral event to the local community during the Advent and Lenten seasons. As mentioned before, the service will feature a selection of Biblical passages with vocal musical items portraying in music, and in words, the narrative of the Way of the Cross – “Via Crucis” – as of the Passion of Our Lord,” the choirmaster states.

The Choral Vespers service, the young maestro claims, is also a good opportunity for local Catholics to get familiar with a centuries-old tradition. Sacred music, Mr Wong argues, is one of the Catholic Church’s greatest treasures: “We strive to develop a tradition of conducting Choral Vespers during significant seasons throughout the liturgical year in the local church. With the hope of promoting the beauty of Sacred Music, so that this immeasurable treasure – as we received and were entrusted by the traditions of the Catholic Church – would also be acknowledged and appreciated within the city. Furthermore, we are more fervent in inviting talented singers to join our sacred journey as a cathedral chorister. As the great Father St. Augustine once said, “Cantare amantis est”. So, let us celebrate the joy of Divine love by joining our voices together, singing songs of praise,” the choral director concludes.