Music is a universal language with the power to bring people of all nationalities, races and faiths together, says Bishop LeeInterfaith concert marks Macau handover anniversary – UCA News
A Catholic choir performs during the interfaith concert to mark the 22th anniversary of the Portuguese handover of Macau to China. (Photo: Catholic Cultural Association of Macau)
Five religions joined hands to hold a musical concert to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Portuguese handover of Macau to China.
The show was held at the Boardway Macau, a popular dining and entertainment destination in Macau, with sponsorship from gaming operator Galaxy Entertainment Group on Dec. 12.
The event was jointly organized by the Catholic Cultural Association of Macau, Buddhist Association of Macau, Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Macau, Macau Mission of the Anglican Church in Hong Kong and the Macau Taoist Association, reports Jornal O-Clarim, the Portuguese-language Catholic weekly of Macau Diocese.Donate to UCA News with a small contribution of your choice
The Concert of the Five Religions featured seven choir groups which performed 19 musical compositions. The Diocesan Choir and the Cathedral Schola Choir represented the Catholic Church.
The initiative sought to use music as a medium of exchange among the different religions in Macao to promote peace, love, communion, unity and a spirit of mutual respect, cooperation and appreciation of all religions, according to the Catholic Cultural Association of Macau.
Major religious leaders of Macau including Bishop Stephen Lee attended the event. Other dignitaries included Edmund Ho, the first chief executive of Macau Special Administration Region; Fu Tiesheng, director general of the Coordination Department of the Central Government Liaison Office in the Macau SAR; and Mok Ian Ian, director of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macau.
The repertoire included songs in Latin, English and Cantonese, and covered both traditional polyphonic themes and modern hymns
In his speech Bishop Stephen Lee of Macau Diocese said music is a truly universal language that has the power to bring people together regardless of their nationality, race and faith.
The Church is open to such new forms of dialogue and religious exchanges to strengthen harmony among faiths, added the prelate, who is also president of the Catholic Cultural Association of Macau.
Joni Cheng, executive director of the association, said Catholic choir groups performed five classical works of sacred church music specially composed for the liturgy.
“The repertoire included songs in Latin, English and Cantonese, and covered both traditional polyphonic themes and modern hymns,” Cheng told Jornal O-Clarim, adding that one of the songs was a Christmas hymn as the Catholics are observing the Advent Season.Related News-Our Lady of Carmel enthuses Macau CatholicsMacau democracy camp loses ground after legislative voteCaritas Macau shelters homeless migrant workersPope blesses Macau Catholic university on silver jubilee
“Sacred music helps to build bridges that bring people closer to the supernatural. St. Augustine used to say that whoever sings prays twice. That’s why the Catholic Church has made a commitment to promote traditional Chinese music and sacred music: to praise the Lord through song and to spread the good news of the Gospel, making use of the beauty and power of music,” he added.
Macau, dubbed the “Las Vegas of the East,” is a gaming, gambling and tourism hub that was under Portuguese rule from 1557 until the handover to Chinese authorities in 1999. It runs as an autonomous territory under separate governing and economic structures other than mainland China under the “one country, two systems” framework.
Macau has one of the world’s highest per capita incomes thanks to its massive gambling industry and associated businesses. With an estimated population of 700,000 in about 33 square kilometers, the island is one of the world’s most densely populated regions.
Catholicism came to Macau during Portuguese rule. Established in 1576, Macau Diocese was the first official church jurisdiction in the Far East and for centuries it has been a gateway for missionaries to enter mainland China.
About 30,000 Catholics live in nine parishes of Macau Diocese.