The “Suffering of the Innocents”, a symphonic homage and prayer composed by Kiko Argüello in memory of innocent victims, especially those of the Holocaust, is a musical gift to the Jewish people and residents of New York City. Organized by the “Neocatechumenal Way”, one of the most significant ecclesial realities of renewal in the Catholic Church, the performance will take place Tuesday, May 8th at Avery Fisher Hall-Lincoln Center at 8:00 p.m. Admission to the performance is free but requires a ticketed reservation, available by calling 201-998-9469 or emailing email@example.com.
A vehicle for expressing the Neocatechumenal Way’s mission to strengthen the relationship between the Christian and Jewish worlds, the concert will be performed by the orchestra and choir of the Neocatechumenal Way and conducted by Pau Jorquera. The symphony of harmonies features 100 musicians and 80 chorus singers from Spain and Italy. Performed for the first time in January 2011 in the Vatican before Benedict XVI, the group has traveled throughout the year to Galilee, before a group of 200 Bishops, and then Paris, Madrid, Düsseldorf and finally in Jerusalem in December in the Gerard Bechar Theater, where the group held a special concert for Hanukkah. The concert arrives in the United States May 6th for a performance at Boston Symphony Hall, followed by the May 8th performance at Lincoln Center, and concludes May 14th at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall.
“This concert represents a revolution in the relationship between those of the Christian Faith and the people of Israel; an acknowledgement that there are essential differences which separate us in faith – and yet all considered, there are very important elements which unite us,” Rabbi David Rosen remarked after hearing the symphony in Jerusalem. “Kiko Argüello and the Way are committed to preserving the identity of the people of Israel, and I’m grateful to have taken part in this historical movement to foster the relationship between Christians and Jews.”
The composer of the symphony, Kiko Argüello, is a painter and multi-disciplinary artist and the initiator of the “Neocatechumenal Way” which he founded together with the Spanish chemist and theologian Carmen Hernandez. Members of the Neocatechumenal Way go through a Christian initiation to rediscover the Jewish roots of their faith so that they are equipped to strengthen the relationship between Christians and Jews – a practice they have share in thousands of communities throughout the world. In Kiko’s words, “We act according to the last wishes for Pope John Paul II. We remember that the roots of Christianity are in Judaism and that since the beginning, God made Israel the chosen people”.
The theme of the symphony reflects Argüello’s experience in the shanty town of Madrid, Spain, in the 1960’s where he lived for several years after a religious conversion experience from atheism. In the midst of all these shattered people living in shacks, Argüello contemplated the suffering of many due to the sins of others, “I have seen homeless people lying in the streets. I have seen abandoned children in orphanages where they are abused. I have met sick people abandoned because of their illness. In approaching these people, I have seen Christ crucified in them, carrying the sin of many and I have realized the magnitude of the tragedy that the Jewish people experienced in the Holocaust”.
In creating this musical work, Argüello aims to convey the message that “in spite of the horrors that we have witnessed throughout history, I want to remind everyone that inside the human heart, hope is always preserved”.
Rabbi David Rosen, AJC International Director of Interreligious Relations and Chief Rabbinate of Israel Honorary Advisor on Interfaith Relations will preside at the event and will lead a memorial prayer for the victims of the Shoah. The tour is endorsed by prominent leaders of the Catholic and Jewish communities. Among the many endorsements, Arch. Vigano’, Nuncio to the U.S. and Arch. Chullikatt, Holy See Observer to the U.N.; Cardinal Dolan, New York; Cardinal O’Malley, Boston; Cardinal George, Chicago; Cardinal Schönborn, Wien; Cardinal. McCarrick, Emeritus of Washington; Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Rabbi Irvin (Yitz) Greenberg, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum and Rabbi Marc Schneier. Also the ADL, the WJC and the AJC, prominent Jewish entities, are endorsing this event.