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Rome Reports

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From meditation to music, Cardinal Newman inspires concert on prayer

Renowned singers and musicians from the United Kingdom have come together to perform a special concert inspired by the life and writings of St. John Henry Newman, who was canonized by Pope Francis in 2019. 

Cardinal Newman was an Anglican priest and scholar who converted to Catholicism. The concert in his honor was held in the church where he once preached on Farm Street in London.

Parish Priest, Farm Street Church
“In the middle of the 19th century, as very many people did, he felt that call towards the Catholic Church. Farm Street here, he would have visited, he preached here, his name is inscribed on the pulpit as many 19th century figures are. People would have come here to listen to something of his journey.”

The concert, titled “Newman: Meditation and Prayer,” is organized by the Genesis Foundation, which seeks to promote the arts and support young musicians, actors, and other creatives. Its founder, John Studzinski, hopes that through the power of music, Cardinal Newman's message of prayer will reach a broader audience.

Founder and Chairman, Genesis Foundation
“We're trying to take a simple, concrete meditation, which is very timeless, and bring it to a broader audience of particularly younger people, or people who are not knowledgeable about Newman, or prayer, or meditation in a formal sense.”

The concert features the world premiers of two choral music commissions inspired by Cardinal Newman. The composers say his meditations offer a rich source of inspiration for their work

“There is something about this meditation that gets right to the heart of the type of questions we ask about ourselves, whether we are believers or not, it's about the purpose of life. It's as simple and massive as that.”

In 2019 pilgrims from England flocked to Rome to be present for the Cardinal's canonization. Today, his life continues to be an inspiration for Catholics around the world. 

Justin McLellan