Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the sixth anniversary of his election as Pope on May 5, at a concert featuring works of sacred classical music from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano offered the afternoon concert, featuring the orchestra and choir of the Opera Theatre of Rome in a performance of Antonio Vivaldi's “Credo” and Gioachino Rossini's “Stabat Mater.”
Pope Benedict said the “splendid execution of the two works of art,” conducted by Jesus Lopez Cobos and Roberto Gabbiani, gave him a “moment of musical elevation” to mark another year as Pope.
This year, the original date of the Pope's 2005 election – April 19 – coincided with Holy Week, forcing the celebration to be pushed back until Easter celebrations and the beatification of Bl. John Paul II had concluded.
After the performance, Pope Benedict offered his own reflections on the theme of Vivaldi's “Credo,” a musical setting of the Nicene Creed by the 18th century priest and composer.
“'I Believe' and 'Amen' are the words that begin and end the 'Credo,'” he noted, before going on to discuss the “much deeper meaning” of the expression of faith.
“Christian faith doesn't say 'I believe in something' but rather 'I believe in Someone,' – in God, who has revealed himself in Jesus.”
He observed that the personal language of the Latin verb “credo,” meaning “I believe,” emphasizes that Jesus reveals not only “the true meaning of the world,” but also the deepest truth about “the entire person who is on a journey toward him.”
Pope Benedict, who is himself a classically trained pianist, said that Vivaldi and Rossini were “great musicians, of whom Italy – which celebrates 150 years of political unification – should feel proud.”
He asked those in attendance at the concert to remember his “ministry in the vineyard of the Lord” in their personal prayers.