Sydney previews new Mass composed for World Youth Day

Sydney, Australia, Jan 30, 2008 / 06:10 pm (CNA) .- In a preview of World Youth Day, a new Mass composed for the July event was performed in Sydney on Tuesday, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The music for the Mass, “Benedictus qui venit,” was composed last year by George Palmer, a New South Wales Supreme Court judge.  The orchestral piece will be performed twice for hundreds of thousands of worshippers during the July 15-20 World Youth Day celebrations. 

The opening and closing Masses are the liturgies at which the musical score will be played. Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, will preside over the opening Mass and Pope Benedict XVI will lead the closing Mass at Randwick Racecourse, an event expected to be attended by nearly half a million people.

The Red Mass at which Palmer’s composition was performed on Tuesday is an annual event for judges, magistrates and lawyers.  A European tradition begun in the 12th century, the Red Mass was adopted in Sydney in 1931 by Catholic lawyers seeking God’s guidance in their professional work.  Several hundred members of the Sydney legal community attended the Mass, over which the Bishop of Wollongong, Peter Ingham, presided.