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Bishop Richard Umbers celebrates the sung Mass with 1100 students at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney (The Catholic Weekly/Giovanni Portelli)

The Church in Sydney is finding its voice again, bringing youth together with a vision to fill the city with sacred song. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

An 1100-strong student choir assembled at St Mary’s Cathedral on November 23 to prove that a renaissance of sacred music is underway.

The sung Mass was celebrated by Bishop Richard Umbers to celebrate the partnership between Sydney Catholic Schools and the Jubilate Deo program.

Beginning in 2018 with Brigidine Catholic College, Randwick, Jubilate Deo director Ronan Reilly and his tutors have trained students from nine primary and two secondary schools in a repertoire inspired by Pope Paul VI’s vision of a church familiar with Gregorian chant.

Led by the original Brigidine choir, the students sang favourites like In Faith and Hope and Love by modern Australian hymnographers James McAuley and Richard Connolly, and fittingly, the Renaissance hymn Jubilate Deo — deftly accomplishing a three-part round.

The students also chanted the responses of the Mass, which they practised at school.

Feedback from students, parents and principals has been positive and the Jubilate Deo program will be expanded to include more schools, as well as parishes and Catholic university chaplaincies.

Bishop Umbers, who has prepared and delivered the archdiocese’s bid to host the 54th International Eucharistic Congress, told the packed cathedral that half a million Sydneysiders joined a procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the Cardinal Cerretti chapel in Manly to the cathedral when Sydney hosted the 20th congress in 1928.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing 100 years later to sing all together in the streets of Sydney like that again?” he said.

The host of the 2028 congress will be announced at the conclusion of the one held in Quito, Ecuador, next September.


Next generation finds its authentic Catholic voice (By Marilyn Rodrigues and George Al-Akiki, The Catholic Weekly)