Music to Papal Ears

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 23, 2004 ( Moved by the performance of an oratorio inspired by his own poetry, John Paul II told a group of seminarians and priests, “‘Debitor factus sum.'”

“I am in debt,” he said Saturday, “to my Roman seminary for the beautiful performance it has given us of the oratorio inspired by the ‘Roman Triptych,’ a poetic work of which many have written. But it is perhaps the first time that I have heard this musical interpretation.”

The occasion was a meeting in Paul VI Hall where the Pope met with seminarians of the Diocese of Rome and some priests, amid an audience of 7,000 people.

At the start of the meeting, the choir and orchestra of the Rome Diocese performed an oratorio composed by Monsignor Marco Frisina, inspired by “Roman Triptych,” the poems John Paul II published last year.

“I wanted to tell you,” the Holy Father said after the performance, “that this morning I celebrated Mass for the intentions of my Roman seminary.”

“‘Debitor factus sum,'” he repeated in Latin. “I am a debtor and I must pay.”

And he concluded: “I will try to do so.”

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