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The Southern Cross : November 2011
November 2011 Page 3 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross news | The Adelaide Festival production of Bernstein's controversial Mass is a "timely" reflection on the spiritual crisis that originally inspired the 1971 production, says Glenelg/Plympton Parish Priest Father Anthony Kain. Father Kain was last month advising Adelaide- based director Andy Packer on the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Mass, which forms the basis of the fully-staged production. "It really is a timely production, as we face our own times of spiritual crisis and another new translation of the Mass," he says of the Adelaide performance on March 9 and 10. American composer Leonard Bernstein was asked by Jackie Kennedy, widow of the only US Catholic President John F. Kennedy, to write a religious piece for the 1971 opening of the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts. Bernstein created a massive production including Latin, Hebrew and English text, and opera, rock ballads and blues, folk and jazz to explore the crisis in faith and the cultural and spiritual breakdown of the post-Kennedy era. Fr Kain says when Bernstein wrote Mass the Vatican II changes to the liturgy were being introduced and there was angst among some of the faithful over the removal of Latin and the introduction of English and modern liturgical music. "The 1960s had been revolutionary for Western society as well as the Catholic Church with its Vatican Council and its call to be a 'Church in the Modern World' alongside such things as the Vietnam War, the 'God is dead' movement, and the controversy about the contraceptive pill, all of which led to a questioning of authority." He says today we are living through new missal changes, an information-rich culture of individualism and wars in the Middle East that have been called into question as Vietnam was. "Even though written in the 1970s context there are many ways this work resonates with us today,", says Fr Kain, who was three-years ordained and working on the new liturgy when Mass was first performed in New York. Packer, best known as artistic director of family theatre company Slingsby, says he wants to keep his version of Mass authentic. "People are coming essentially to see a Mass. And within that Mass the congregation questions the Celebrant about God, the role of religion and the world today until the Celebrant, who starts off with strong and simple faith, experiences his own crisis of conviction." Since accepting his role as director of Mass, Packer has attended Latin Easter services in New York and found the experience "fantastically beautiful". "I want to be faithful to those traditions, but at the same time I want to do a piece which questions those traditions," says Packer, who was raised in the Uniting Church. "I hope this production of Bernstein's Mass will provoke the audience to re-imagine the positive social connection that religion can create in our lives," he says. Mass, presented by the Adelaide Festival and the State Opera of South Australia, will have a cast of more than 200 performers, singers and musicians, including renowned US baritone singer Jubilant Sykes in the role of the Celebrant and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by Estonian/American Maestro Kristjan Järvi. For bookings visit www. adelaidefestival.com.au or BASS 131 246. TAKE TWO: Adelaide director of Mass Andy Packer gets advice from Glenelg Parish Priest Anthony Kain at Our Lady of Victories Church. Photo: Benon Koebsch Local advice for Mass production Rebecca DiGirolamo Continued from page 1. "Through this year, we will implore a new sending of the Holy Spirit, who alone can breathe new life into the Church." The Ad Limina Apostolorum -- which means "to the threshold of the apostles (Sts Peter and Paul)" - is an obligatory visit to Rome by the Australian bishops. It is usually held every five years but due to the failing health of the late Pope John Paul II and a number of other factors, it is seven years since the last visit by the Australian bishops in 2004. The bishops give an account of the reality in their dioceses and their hopes for the future of the Church. They also visit various Vatican Congregations. High on the agenda was discussion with the Congregation for Bishops, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the sacking of Bishop William Morris. Archbishop Wilson issued a statement saying the discussions were "substantial, serious and candid". "These meetings have given us a more adequate understanding of what was done by the Holy See in an attempt to resolve the difficulties with Bishop Morris, which concerned not only matters of Church discipline but also of Church doctrine definitively taught, such as on the ministerial priesthood," he said. "We return to Australia determined to do whatever we can to heal any wounds of division, to extend our fraternal care to Bishop Morris, and to strengthen the bonds of charity in the Church in Australia." In Pope Benedict's address to the bishops, he spoke of St Mary MacKillop's "courageous response" to the difficulties she faced and how this should inspire today's Catholics "as they confront the new evangelisation and serious challenges to the spread of the Gospel in society as a whole". He said all members of the Church needed to be formed in their faith, from "sound catechesis for children" and religious education in Catholic schools to "much-needed catechetical programs for adults". The Pope also acknowledged that the bishops' pastoral burden had been made heavier by the past "sins and mistakes of others" but that their task was to continue to repair the errors of the past with "honesty and openness". Call for unity