Catholic and Jewish musicians invite all of us to pray with Pope Francis

Brother Al Mascia and Cantor Steve Klaper at Song and Spirit Berkeley MI

GOOD MUSIC BUILDS GOOD COMMUNITY: Brother Al Mascia and Cantor Steve Klaper collaborate at the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace in Berkeley, Michigan.

Pope Francis encyclical on the environmentFRANCIS is the first pope to devote an entire encyclical—the highest form of papal teaching—to the protection of our natural world. This is such a milestone that some are calling Francis’s new campaign “a seismic shift in mainstream Christian thought about the human-nature relationship.”

The pope is inspiring men and women around the world—including an interfaith song-writing duo who set Francis’s prayer to music. Today, we are sharing their music video (below) so you can pass it along to friends, your congregation—and anyone else who might be inspired to carry this message further.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?

Share today’s video! Francis asks us all to pray—and he is giving the world two prayers: One written with Catholics and other Christians in mind; one written for a more universal audience. Here’s the story behind this new music video …

The Song and Spirit Institute is nationally known as an interfaith community making peace through music, the fine arts (especially the creation of beautiful mosaics led by artist and co-founder Mary Gilhuly)—and service to the poor in many forms. The center in Berkeley, northwest of Detroit, also teaches volunteer to care for the earth in many ways.

The creation of new inspirational music is the vocation of the center’s other co-founders: Brother Al Mascia, a Franciscan Friar, and Cantor Steve Klaper, a Jewish musician and storyteller. They bill themselves as: “A Franciscan minstrel and a Jewish troubadour bringing peace to the world one song at a time.”

Arthur Waskow Torah of the Earth Jewish LightsKlaper says their latest collaboration began with a message from an East Coast friend: “We first heard about Francis’s prayers from Rabbi Arthur Waskow,” head of the Philadelphia Shalom Center and author of the two-volume Torah of the Earth, by Jewish Lights. “Rabbi Waskow sent out word that people should not miss the two prayers at the very end of the pope’s new book. He realized that many people wouldn’t slog through 180-or-so pages and might miss the prayers at the very end.

“But, the moment I looked at the prayers, I said: ‘There’s a song here! I’m not sure yet how it’s a song—but it’s a song!’ And I turned to Brother Al to work on turning the language of the prayer into lyrics.”

Brother Al understood the power of such a song. “The moment this encyclical was released, there was a lot of political controversy about it,” he says. “Some of that debate was filled with adulation for the letter and some was quite vitriolic—but that political debate missed the point of what Francis really is saying. We realized that the conversation really needed some poetry, creativity and music. And that’s what we can contribute here at Song and Spirit.”

A long-time fan of Cat Stevens, Brother Al recalls what Stevens told reporters when Stevens (as Yusuf Islam) returned to producing music in 2006:

“The language of song is simply the best way to communicate. … I never wanted to get involved in politics because that essentially separates people, whereas music has the power to unify, and is so much easier for me than to give a lecture. You can argue with a philosopher, but you can’t argue with a good song.”

Enjoy this new song—and share it

 

Tell friends that it’s from The Song and Spirit Institute—and ask them to tell their friends, too!

Care to read more?

THE POPE’S LETTERRead our “best quotes” condensation of the 184-page letter by Pope Francis. Scroll down through our “best quotes” and you’ll find the full text of both prayers Pope Francis is giving the world—one written for Christians; one for a more universal audience.

WHY ANIMAL-LOVERS ARE PLEASED—The Humane Society of the United States’s Christine Gutleben writes this open letter to all of us who care for animals.

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Comments

  1. Sandra says

    I loved how you put the wonderful poem togehter with the images and terrific music to create a complete circle… it became a Universal and specific all at once! thank you for sharing it with the world!