Chilean Jesuit uses music to celebrate diversity of the Church

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Chilean Jesuit uses music to celebrate diversity of the Church

“What primarily enriches my music are the human faces and stories that touch my heart,” explains Fr. Cristóbal Fones.

Music is often called a universal language, capable of communicating the same emotions and ideas to people from different backgrounds.

For Jesuit priest Cristóbal Fones, singing has been a way to navigate and share the mosaic of cultures in his native country and beyond.


“I have been able to be a witness of many communities in different countries and in various parts of Chile: rural communities, urban communities, communities of young people, older adults, children. In other words, I've seen the full diversity that enriches and is reflected by our Church.”

With more than 700 prayer concerts, 11 albums, and a period of musical formation at Berklee College of Music under his belt, Fr. Cristóbal is a force to be reckoned with in the world of music. His goal and motivation however, are far from obtaining recognition and fame.


“What primarily enriches my music are the human faces and stories that touch my heart. They awaken in me a desire for a more committed, more human, more solidary, more just response.”

Fones explains that music complements his primary vocation as a Jesuit priest, and that the faith ultimately guides the themes his music explores.


“Perhaps a very important moment in my life as a human being and as a priest, was the time I lived in an indigenous community in the southern part of Chile. From there arose the desire to compose a Mass in an indigenous language. What I most want is to connect in a profound way with hope and with this awareness of a God who inhabits the entire world.”

Besides this Chilean indigenous Mass, the first of its kind, his other works include an instrumental album about caring for the environment, and a cover album of songs composed by a community of Carmelite nuns, based on the writings of St. Teresa of the Andes. Now he's looking forward to completing an album of compositions by Jesuits from around the world, which he hopes will be ready in early 2021.

With the universality of the Church as a steady bass line, Fr. Cristóbal continues to build harmonies capable of reaching people in every part of the world.

Cristóbal Fones

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