Deaf judge writes music for WYD closing Mass


Australian Supreme Court Justice George Palmer has composed the music for the World Youth Day 2008 closing Mass with Pope Benedict XVI at Randwick Racecourse.

He titled the mass Benedictus qui venit, from the Latin liturgy "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord", to honor Pope Benedict, who will make his first visit to Australia for World Youth Day in July.

In comments to the Sydney Morning Herald Palmer said, "This is a youth Mass, but it has to be suitable for everyday Sunday use, so it has to be happy, uplifting and full of energy.”

"George's mass is full of life and optimism but it is very profound," said Fr. Peter Williams, the director of liturgy for World Youth Day.

Palmer is a judge in the equity division of the NSW Supreme Court. He has written classical music for his own pleasure for many years. He urgently wanted to hear his music played when his father was dying in 2001 and his own hearing suddenly deteriorated. He now has only "a quarter of an ear".

This led to an ABC recording, coverage by ABC-TV's Australian Story in 2004, and a stream of requests for his music.

Justice Palmer was one of five composers recommended to submit ideas for World Youth Day. After assessment by a panel of peers, Cardinal George Pell made the final decision.

"I couldn't imagine anything more exciting than a multitude of people singing together and sharing the whole experience with the spirit that music engenders," Justice Palmer said. "That is the biggest hit of energy."

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