Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem: by Stephen Eric Smyth and Gerry Fitzpatrick
1999 and 2006
For many years the Archdiocese of Glasgow’s Music Committee has included annual Masses and Cantatas—many of the latter ecumenical— as part of a programme affecting music and religious education in schools. In March, 2006 the schools celebrated Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem in St Mungo’s, Townhead. This Cantata was written and had been performed as part of the preparations for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, and it is worth recalling the words Pope John Paul 2nd wrote about that time: “The journey of believers towards the third millennium is in no way weighed down by the weariness which the burden of two thousand years of history could bring with it. Rather, Christians feel invigorated in the knowledge that they bring to the world the true light, Christ the Lord.”
It seemed appropriate to Glasgow Churches Together also, to celebrate the journey of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem as we marked a significant stage our own journey, and on the journey of the wider Christian community. The events celebrated here are an important part of our heritage —it can be regarded as a bonus if we also enjoy remembering them, and can feel the invigoration and enthusiasm that Pope John Paul 2nd mentioned in his letter quoted above.
A schools Cantata, in the tradition of St Philip Neri, uses any tools of participation that are available to the children—procession and dance, music both traditional and contemporary, word and spectacle, reading and listening, and whatever instrumentalists can be available. Some 24 schools enjoyed this particular Cantata again in 2006. Their learning it was assisted by the generosity of the two schools who made the teaching CD which was sent to the other schools, and the process of learning and celebrating achieved the purpose of the Cantata—a religious reminding of the life and deeds of Jesus and his friends as St Luke the Evangelist described them.
This Cantata was the latest in a long line of such produced in Glasgow over the past 30 years—beginning with the stories of St Andrew, of St Columba, of Blessed John Duns Scotus, of Joseph and Mary, of St Mungo, of St Ninian, of King David, of St Constantine of Govan, of St Brigid, St Julie and St Patrick. Perhaps this tradition of cantatas has lasted such a long time because schools enjoyed them and they had the bonus of re-inforcing such profound religious lessons—with a smile.
The libretto can be accessed by clicking on the file below: