Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, will launch a new setting of the Mass by Kildare composer Padraig Meredith on Sunday 26 February.
Mass of the People will be presented for the first
time in Saint Conleth’s Parish Church, Newbridge, Co Kildare and it will
be performed for the first time by local choir ‘In Caelo’ under the
baton of Cora Coffey, Musical Director.
Mass of the People includes new settings of the pieces
sung/spoken at every Mass – the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Gospel
Acclamation, the Holy Holy, the Memorial Acclamation, the Doxology &
Great Amen, and the Lamb of God.
The Mass will also feature two
additional pieces by Padraig Meredith including the first performance of
a new psalm entitled In God Alone and a new Communion hymn Our Blessing Cup which will be performed by soloist Teresa Lynch.
Commenting on how he came to write the new Mass setting, composer
Padraig Meredith said, “The Mass came about through my long association
with ‘In Caelo’ choir and their Musical Director Cora Coffey. I have
written many Church pieces, but I never had the kind of response from
performers which I receive every time I bring ‘In Caelo’ a new piece. I
wanted to thank the choir for their support over the years by composing a
special piece for them, but that didn’t seem enough so I decided to
compose an entire Mass setting for them. The setting is called Mass of the People because it is a gift not just for ‘In Caelo’, but for all the parishioners of Newbridge.
Padraig went on to say, “I have worked in Newbridge Parish for the
past twenty-four years, first as an altar server, then as a junior
sacristan, as a helper on the annual Lourdes pilgrimage, and as a choir
member singing with the tenors in ‘In Caelo’. I went on to play piano
for ‘In Caelo’ and eventually turned to composing for them.
“I have proudly represented Newbridge Parish at four World Youth Days
in Toronto, Cologne, Sydney, and Madrid. Outside of our diocese I have
also represented our parish at the 50th International
Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 2012 as a pianist and member of the
chamber choir, and I also composed the official anthem for the Dublin
Archdiocese Year of Evangelisation.”
Padraig went on to share some of the spirit of his local parish,
saying, “Newbridge parish has a spirit which is unlike another parish. I
love liturgy, all types of liturgy, from the joy of a Christmas Eve or
Easter Saturday liturgy, to the sombre and muted mood of Good Friday.
Whether it is a joyful or a sombre occasion Newbridge parish is able to
achieve in communicating a warm, peaceful, calm, and reflective mood.
Our parish church is a place of welcome, light, warmth, and heart. My
Mass setting tries to capture the various moods of the Church calendar.
Each piece has a separate character which matches the tone of that
moment in the liturgy where it is placed. The Mass setting tried to
achieve a goal of being inclusive for all the congregation by
(hopefully) being ‘singable’ by everyone. Hopefully the congregation
will leave the liturgy happy and humming!”
Speaking ahead of the launch of the new Mass, Father Paul Dempsey,
Parish Priest of Saint Conleth’s Parish, Newbridge, said, “Sunday, 26
February marks a significant day in our parish diary as we launch
Padraig’s Mass of the People. Down through the years Padraig
has been most generous in giving of his time to enhance the liturgy in
the parish through his musical talent. He is a very gifted musician and
we are extremely fortunate to be able to draw on this giftedness in
Saint Conleth’s. As the Church faces many challenges in a changed and
changing culture, many people drift along as many familiar anchors in
society have disappeared. As a Church we must respond by inviting
people to participate in the liturgy – a liturgy that is vibrant,
joyful and well prepared, a liturgy that will touch people’s hearts and
help them experience the deep love of Jesus Christ. Good music is
critical to this and contributes to the Eucharist being the ‘summit and
source’ of the Church’s life. Through his new Mass setting, Mass of the People,
Padraig is making a major contribution to the life of the Church in
Ireland today. I wish him every blessing and thank him for sharing his
gifts so generously with us here in Saint Conleth’s Parish.”
The Musical Director of ‘In Caelo’ is Cora Coffey, and the ensemble
for Sunday 26 February will include composer Padraig Meredith on piano,
Caroline Sutton on violin, Derek Duffy on guitar, and Mary Farrell on
Commenting ahead of the launch Cora Coffey said, “In Caelo has come a
long way since it began in 1997. Myself and Padraig were original
members of the choir. We all knew that Padraig was destined for greater
things and he has proved us right! ‘In Caelo’ are honoured that he has
chosen us to perform his beautiful new Mass setting. I wish him every
success for the future and ‘In Caelo’ looks forward to many more
collaborations with him.”
Padraig Meredith studied music earning a B.Mus. degree from UCD, a
G.Dip.Ed (Music) from University of Limerick, an ADV.Dip.PD
(Inclusive Education) from Queens University Belfast, and an M.Mus.
Masters in Musicology from UCD. He works as the Music Teacher
at the Holy Family Community School, Rathcoole, and spends the rest of
his time working as an accompanist and session musician in a variety of
genres from Church to choral to rock music. He composed the theme song
for the Dublin Diocesan ‘Year of Evangelisation’ called Raise Your Voice. He also composed the score for the Irish dance and musical theatre work The Cloak, along with writer Padraig Dunne, which is based on the life of Saint Brigid.
‘In Caelo’ is one of the parish choirs in Saint Conleth’s Parish in
the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. The choir has been in existence for
almost 20 years. The choir of 44 members comprises men and women from
Newbridge and surrounding areas. ‘In Caelo’ is a four part harmony choir
and they sing at the 12.30pm Mass in Saint Conleth’s Parish Church
every second Sunday.
For more on Mass of the People see www.newbridgeparish.ie.