On Sunday, the Symphonic Orchestra of the Neocatechumenal Way will perform a historic concert entitled “The Suffering of the Innocents” in the Polish city of Auschwitz, in front of what is known as the “Door of Death,” the entrance to the Birkenau concentration camp, also known as Auschwitz. The musical work, composed by the initiator and international responsible of the Way, Kiko Argüello, will be an integral part of a celebration in honor of the millions of victims of the Holocaust and of all the innocent victims of our days.
Taking part in the event will be six cardinals: Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow; Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Archbishop of Warsaw; Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna; Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,”; Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and Cardinal Paolo Romeo, Archbishop of Palermo.
Among the bishops taking part are Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk of Gniezno and primate of Poland; the president of the Polish Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Jozef Michalik; Archbishop Stanisław Budzik of Lublin; Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Prague and many others. .
The Symphonic Celebration will be presided over by the Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz and foresees the intervention of Rabbi Greenberg, former president of the Jewish Life Network and the Steinhardt Foundation; Rabbi Rosenbaum, Secretary General of the Council of Rabbis of North America, and of Rabbi David Rosen, president of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Relations and in charge of relations with the Holy See.
The Symphony will be presented by its composer, Kiko Argüello, who in addition will explain every movement of the work: Gethsemane, Lament, Forgive Them, Sword, Shema Israel and Resurrexit.
The musical work leads the spectator to the moment in which the Virgin sees her Son crucified. “We see the Virgin Mary subjected to the scandal of the suffering of the innocent lived in her own flesh and in that of her Son. “O, what sorrow!” her voice sings while a sword pierces her soul,” says Argüello. “What great mystery lies in the suffering of so many innocents who suffer for the sins of others: incest, unheard of violence, the interminable line of women and children led to the gas chambers and the profound grief of one of the guards who hears a voice in his heart whispering to him ‘get in line and go with them to death,’ without knowing from where it came,” explained the composer. “Some say that after the horror of Auschwitz it is not possible to believe in God. This is not true because God became man precisely to take upon himself the suffering of so many innocent ones. He is the Innocent One, the Lamb led to the slaughter, He who does not open his mouth, taking upon himself all sins,” added Arguello during the explanation of the work.
A Bridge of Closeness between the Church and the Jewish People
The Symphonic-Catechetical celebration is an attempt to bridge the gap between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people, fostering such good relations and ties of friendship, as John Paul II and Benedict XVI requested on different occasions.
Pope Francis, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, expressed the same wish on many occasions and has an very close relationship with the Jewish people, as well as close friendships with many important rabbis.
The Way’s Orchestra, directed by Pau Jorquera, has performed the Symphony in several cities of the world, among which it is important to recall Jerusalem, Galilee, Bethlehem, Paris, Madrid, Boston, New York, Chicago and Dusseldorf. Taking part in many of these places were members of the Jewish people, who were profoundly affected by the music and its meaning.