Since there is little to no announcement of this particular news in English, Cabbagejuice will offer a rough translation of the article that appeared in the Italian press online. The below mentioned link is from the site of “asca”, agencia stampa quotidiana nationale (national daily press agency). 1. For many more links of this rather astonishing widespread coverage in Italian go to Cabbagejuice’s “Moslem kids to sing for the Pope II”.
THE POPE IN ISRAEL ALSO MUSLIMS IN THE CHORUS WHO WILL SING FOR BENEDICT XVI
Jerusalem, May 5th, 2009
Father Armando Pierucci has chosen a repertoire of songs and traditional music opportunely rearranged “to give these people something they may sing together”. The Franciscan originally from the Marche (Italy) has been in Jerusalem for 20 years. Fourteen years ago he has founded a school of music in the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, the “Magnificat”.
This will be the same chorus of the Magnificat (Cori Custodia di Terra Santa) , composed of boys and girls, both Christian and Muslim who will sing Tuesday May 12th for Pope Benedict for the occasion of the Mass to be celebrated in the valley of Josefat.
The composition of the chorus , explains father Pierucci, is the same as the attendants of the school. For the most part, the students come from the old city of Jerusalem where inside the walls constructed by Suleiman the Magnificent exist together the Christian quarter, the Muslim and Jewish (not to count the Armenian quarter, also Christian). While the Jews tend not to “mingle with others”, Muslims and Christians live in tight contact for centuries, joined by the Arabic language and culture.
“The difference of religion is not perceived as discriminating. And this is ,for here we make music” , explains the Franciscan, who nevertheless emphasizes that the school has been frequented by some Jewish boys.
To advance the creation of a musical entity in Jerusalem is not simple. People here have multiple preoccupations. “The idea of a music school seemed hazardous but now we have already 210 students and 20 teachers.” The next step is to obtain legal recognition of the curriculum and to find a new place to house the classes and instruments, that have no more room in the basement of the residence of the Custody of the Holy Land. All this will be possible with the help of international twin organization and donors adds father Pierucci.
The students of the Magnificat, like all the Arab population of Israel, in particular Jerusalem and its outskirts, has had to endure a worsening of living conditions in the aftermath of the Second Intifada. Above all, the movements have become more difficult. We have had boys coming from Bethlehem, Ramallah and Taybeh, that is, the only remaining Christian village in Holy Land. Now, because of the Wall, it is no longer possible.
The Mass in Jerusalem will be the first of the three great Masses celebrated by the Pontiff during his Israeli stop in the Holy Land. The expectation of the “Latin” Christians (as they are called) is great even if no one hides that it would have been preferable for Pope Benedict XVI to come at another time, not a few months after the Israeli attack on Gaza.
Coexistence is complex. “At Easter” recounts Hala, a soprano with the Magnificat Choir (Coro Custodia di Terra Santa) for two years, there was no permission to enter the old city to go to the Christmas Mass. “But now”, she adds, “we await only that the Pope come as shepherd, looking for his community. Will this happen? We hope, simply hope.”
1. This same article appeared in yet another site with this title:
“Il Papa in Terra Santa: un coro di Christiani e Musulmani animera la Messa in Gerusalemme”
“The Pope in the Holy Land: A chorus of Christians and Moslems will give life to the Mass in Jerusalem.”