The Bible was only fully translated into Lovari a few years ago.
A Mass setting in Lovari was first proposed by Cardinal Péter Erdő, the archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and Primate of Hungary.
According to the official website of the International Eucharistic Congress, Erdő raised the idea with the violinist György Lakatos.
Lakatos recalled: “Cardinal, Primate Péter Erdő, whom I’m in contact with since his inauguration, and who has already invited me for many, many ecclesiastical and secular events to perform, said to me: ‘Some parts of the Bible have already been translated into Lovari language. In preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress, I would like to have these texts set into music as well.’”
Erdő emphasized that the music should contain traditional elements of Romani music -- often called Gypsy music -- as well as Hungarian music.
Lakatos asked 23-year-old Patrik Gergő Oláh, a student at Budapest’s Liszt Music Academy, to compose the Lovari-language Mass setting.
The world premiere, at 7:30 p.m. local time on Sept. 1 at St. Stephen’s Basilica, will be conducted by Ertüngealp Alpaslan. It will feature the Grazioso Chamber Orchestra of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Downtown Franciscan Cantorate, as well as the soloists Nikoletta Szőke and Nikolasz Takács.
The same musicians will play at the Mass during the International Eucharistic Congress on Sept. 9, which will be celebrated by Archbishop Alfredo José Espinoza Mateus, the archbishop of Quito, Ecuador.
In addition to Lovari, the Mass will also feature English, French, Latin, Hungarian, German, Italian, and Spanish.
A description of the Mass on the official congress website says: “The main parts of the Holy Mass, which are also sung by the people, can now be heard in authentic musical form in a special composition written for the occasion, for the first time ever in a live liturgical setting.”
“Music is a true bridge between an individual and another individual, regardless of origin, proclaiming mankind’s historical, spiritual and inner identity.”
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“This music belongs not only to the Roma minority, but to all people who know how much the European minorities have gone through in the course of history, together with their fellow human beings, with whom they now forge a strong community.”