Published October 19, 2006
The feast of All Souls is Nov. 2, and November is a month traditionally dedicated to remembering ancestors and loved ones who have died. The Cathedral of Christ the King will offer a moving liturgy for the feast of All Souls featuring music from John Rutter’s “Requiem.”
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will celebrate the solemn Mass on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. with music provided by the Cathedral Choir accompanied by a chamber orchestra. All are invited to make this Mass a part of their All Souls Day prayer.
Rutter’s “Requiem,” composed in 1985, follows in the tradition of the great Requiem Masses of Faure and Durufle with unceasingly beautiful melodies supported by lush harmonies, said Kevin Culver, Cathedral choirmaster.
Rutter, a prolific and highly respected contemporary composer-conductor, has selected texts from the traditional Requiem Mass for his musical setting. The work forms a meditation on the themes of life and death with the first and last movements expressing prayers on behalf of all humanity. The other movements are similarly woven into the fabric of the liturgy. The composer is known for the accessibility of his music, and all the movements display some of the most memorable melodies in all of choral literature, Culver said.
The Mass for the Dead is of very ancient origin. Sources from the second century mention this celebration of the Eucharist. Even before the time of the Apostles, the Jews prayed that the immortal souls of the just might have “rest eternal.” St. Odilo, Benedictine abbot at Cluny, instituted the feast of All Souls Day in 998.
Yet the texts of the Mass, though ancient, continue as vital, living expressions of consolation for the present and hope for the future, Culver said.
One of the most moving symbols of continuity, used in procession during the Mass, is the Cathedral’s Death Registry, containing the names of all people who have been buried from Christ the King since the Cathedral’s dedication in 1936. Additionally, this is the Jubilee Year of the creation of the Diocese of Atlanta in 1956, a time of celebrating those who laid the foundation of faith in North Georgia.
“The prayers and music for this special liturgy are filled with images of eternal rest and perpetual light, but they ask more of us than mere reflection on past losses,” the choirmaster said. “They encourage us to bring to the present those we have loved and known; to acknowledge their continuing presence in our lives; to pray for them not in the past tense, but in the present and future tenses. The entire diocesan family is encouraged to attend this profound and deeply moving liturgy.”
For more information call (404) 233-2145, ext. 470. The Cathedral of Christ the King is located at 2699 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta. Ample parking is available.