Benedict XVI to Attend WWII Memorial Concert

Event to Mark 70th Anniversary of War’s Outbreak

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2009 ( Benedict XVI will attend a concert called “Young People Against the War,” as part of a series of activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War II.

The Oct. 8 concert is to be held on the Via della Conciliazione and will feature the German orchestra Interregionales Jugendsinfonieorchester, the Vatican press office reported today. 

Jochem Hochstenbach and Wolfgang Gonnenwein will direct the musicians, who will perform pieces from Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelssohn.

The concert is being organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews, the German Embassy to the Holy See and the European Cultural Forum of the cultural association of Mainau.

The event is part of the project “1939-2009: 70 Years Since the Outbreak of World War II,” which will be presented Oct. 1 at the Vatican press office.

The importance of recalling the war was highlighted this month by Benedict XVI.

At the end of the praying of the Angelus on Sept. 6 in the Italian city of Viterbo, the Holy Father said: “We cannot forget the dramatic events that led to one of the most terrible wars in history that caused millions and millions of deaths and so much suffering. […] A conflict that saw the tragedy of the Holocaust and the extermination of throngs of other innocents. 

“The memory of these events impels us to pray for the victims and for the people who still bear the wounds in their body and heart; may it also be a warning to all never to repeat such barbarities and, in our time still marked by conflicts and opposition, to redouble efforts to build lasting peace, passing on especially to the new generations, a culture and lifestyle marked by love, solidarity and esteem for the other.”

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