An international competition launching next month will invite Mandarin Chinese-speaking Catholics throughout the world to compose devotional religious hymns for use in ministry.
“Music is an influential means to promote the Christian values,” said Fr. John Mi, the coordinator of the event.
He told CNA on Dec. 7 that among Chinese Catholics, there has been little composition of music for Mass and prayer gatherings. As a result, Protestant songs are sometimes used.
Fr. Mi explained that the idea developed when some young people approached him to ask if there was any platform for them to write songs and use them in ministry.
They suggested a plan to “reach out” to the greater Catholic community to search for devotional hymns that reflect the faith. The result is an invitation to all Catholics in the Mandarin Chinese-speaking world, not only in mainland China, but in Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong and across the globe.
The contest is being launched by the Mandarin section of Radio Veritas Asia in the Philippines. Located in Manilia, Radio Veritas Asia is the non-commercial Catholic radio station of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. It was started in 1969 and broadcasts in 15 Asian languages.
Fr. Mi said that the idea is to “motivate” those who have the “talent to compose” religious songs, and inspire them in producing reflections, meditations and prayers to be part of the Catholic faith life.
It is also hoped that the contest will help renew the faith life of Chinese Catholics through song, he said.
The contest is open from January through July of 2014. A group of judges will then spend several weeks considering the submissions, and results will be publicized in October at an award night.
Prizes will be given for first, second and third place. In addition, 10 consolation prizes will be given.
The 13 winning songs will then be compiled on a CD and distributed throughout the world.
To submit an entry in the contest, an individual is only required to offer the lyrics of his or her composition. The actual music can be provided later. Fr. Mi explained that this is because many of the contributors live in rural areas and may not have access to high quality recording facilities.
Those interested in participating are encouraged to contact [email protected]