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Courtyard of the Papal Residence, Castel Gandolfo
Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Your  Eminences,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and  in  the Priesthood,
Dear Friends,

This evening we are immersed in sacred music, that music which in a quite special way is born from faith and can express and communicate faith. Thanks, therefore, are due to the splendid performers: to the two sopranos, the baritone, to Maestro Baiocchi, the Rossini Chamber Choir from Pesaro and the Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana, as well as the organizers and authorities who made this event possible.

In the midst of our daily routine, you have given us a moment of meditation and prayer, enabling us to intuit the harmonies of Heaven. An affectionate and special “thank you” to the composer of the passages we have just heard, Maestro Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci. Thank you, Your Eminence, for giving me this concert and for composing for the occasion the Benedictus, dedicated to me as a prayer and as thanksgiving to the Lord for my ministry.

Maestro Cardinal Bartolucci needs no introduction. I would only like to mention three aspects of his life — in addition to his proud Florentine spirit — which clearly mark it: faith, the priesthood and music.

Dear Cardinal Bartolucci, faith is the light which has always orientated and guided your life and has opened your heart to respond generously to the Lord’s call; and it is from this faith that your style of composition stems.

Of course, you had a sound musical training which you received at the Cathedral of Florence, at the Conservatoire in Florence and at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music with great teachers, including Vito Frazzi, Raffaele Casimiri, and Ildebrando Pizzetti.

For you, however, music is a privileged language for communicating the Church's faith and for helping those who listen to your works on their journey of faith; through music too, you have exercised your priestly ministry. Your style follows in the wake of the great composers of sacred music, in particular for the Sistine Chapel which you directed for many years, by enhancing the precious treasure of Gregorian Chant and your wise use of polyphony, faithful to tradition but also open to new sounds.

Dear Maestro, this evening, with your music, you have made our thoughts turn to Mary with the prayer dearest to Christian tradition, but you have also taken us back to the beginning of our faith journey, to the liturgy of Baptism, to the moment when we became Christian: an invitation to quench our thirst ceaselessly with the only water that can assuage thirst, the living God, and to commit ourselves every day to rejecting evil and to renewing our faith by reasserting: “I believe”!

Christus circumdedit me”, Christ has enveloped me and envelops me: this motet sums up your life, your ministry and your music, dear Cardinal. I therefore renew my thanks to you, to the two sopranos, to the baritone, to the conductor and to the choral and orchestral complexes, and I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing. Thank you.



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