30 New York Rabbis Hear Neocatechumenal Way Choir

Symphonic-Catechetical Initiative Part of Way's Efforts to Foster Dialogue With Jews

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By Alvaro de Juana

NEW YORK, MAY 14, 2012 (Zenit.org).- On May 8, the Orchestra and Choir of the Neocatechumenal Way performed in New York’s prestigious Avery Fisher Hall "A Symphonic Homage Prayer to the Victims of the Shoa, the Jewish Holocaust."

The symphony interlaces the Word of God with music, through the reading of the prophet Ezekiel, the Gospel of Luke and the background of the Symphony, “The Suffering of the Innocent." 

There were some 3,000 people in the audience, the majority Jews, among whom were more than 30 rabbis, and some 12 bishops and civil authorities. Also present were numerous survivors of the Holocaust and their families.

“The Suffering of the Innocent” was composed by Kiko Argüello, initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way, and performed by a choir and orchestra of 180 professionals from this ecclesial group.

The musical composition was born in face of “the reality of the scandal of so many innocents who today bear the sins of others,” Arguello told ZENIT. It was created “having as point of reference Simeon’s prophecy to the Virgin: A sword shall pierce your soul on seeing the death of your Son on the cross.”

This Symphonic-Catechetic celebration is one of the Neocatechumenal Way’s new initiatives, in the context of their objective to build bridges with the Jewish people.

After having performed in several places around the world – Madrid, Paris, Galilee, Bethlehem and Jerusalem -- the celebration continued its tour in some large cities of the United States.

The performance at Avery Fisher Hall began with two of the most important rabbis of New York City: Rabbi Greenberg and Rabbi Rosenbaum, who greeted the public and led them in prayer.

Then Argüello was introduced by David Rosen, rabbi and director of the American Jewish Committee, councilor for Interreligious Affairs of the Great Rabbinate of Jerusalem and responsible for relations with the Holy See.

Before the performance of the Symphonic Orchestra, Argüello explained the origin of the Symphony and the importance of the suffering of the innocent in his spiritual life. In fact, the initiator of the Way said that when he was young he went to live among the poor of the slums of Palomeras Alta in Madrid, where, among other things, the ecclesial reality of the Neocatechumenal Way was born and friendship with the Church.

One of the most intense moments of the evening was the Orchestra’s and Choir’s performance of the prayer of the Shema Israel, as the audience, many of whom were in tears, accompanied by singing. The celebration ended with a performance from a prestigious Jewish choir and a prayer in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.