SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS Preston Dibble, director of diocesan music, leads the diocesan choir during the annual Christmas concert held at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Paterson on Dec. 8, 2019.
Diocesan Christmas Concert will be a virtual event in ’20
By CECILE PAGLIARULO, Reporter
PATERSON Dedicated to the heroes of the Diocese — the frontline workers, parishes and the staff of Catholic Charities of Paterson, who have continuously served others in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Annual Diocesan Christmas Concert plans to bring a message of hope to all.
Themed, “A Concert of Hope,” the concert will be virtual from the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist here. It will feature 14 members of the diocesan choir along with a brass section and organ under the director of Preston Dibble, diocesan director of music.
The virtual concert will be presented at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 18 and can be viewed from the comfort of one’s own home at www.rcdop.org/live.
Bishop Kevin Sweeney will give a message and prayer for hope and healing this Advent season at the virtual concert.
Father Stephen Prisk, diocesan vice chancellor and priest-secretary to the Bishop, said, “I think we are all in need of a little hope these days as we are facing so many challenges with the pandemic and unrest in our country. I was struck last Easter by how palpable the desire for hope was when 2.8 million people tuned in live to Bocelli’s concert entitled ‘Music for Hope’ in the Cathedral in Milan, Italy. Music has a way of helping us to encounter the very presence of God through the experience of beauty. Our encounter with God is an encounter with hope. Christmas is a season of hope because we reflect on the fact that God has not and will never abandon us.”
The concert will feature Christmas classics and viewers are invited to join from home in the singing of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night” and “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” In addition, the choir will perform “O Holy Night,” “We Three Kings,” “Virgin Great and Glorious” and “The Holy and the Ivy.”
“Because bringing together large crowds is not possible,” Dibble said, “we have entitled this year’s concert ‘A Concert of Hope’ where we seek to offer some hope and joy in this turbulent time where we cannot gather to rejoice in the birth of Christ as we normally would.”
Father Prisk said, “Our hope that God has not abandoned us is not wishful thinking but founded on the truth that God did indeed come on Christmas morning. He remains with us today in his Word, in the Sacraments and in the love that we share as brothers and sisters in the human family. As we lift our hearts and minds to God through sung prayer during the Christmas Concert, our hope is that all might have an experience with the person of Christ who is our hope.”
The performance will be dedicated to those who have cared for the community during this unprecedented time — parishes creatively finding ways to continue bringing the Sacraments to the faithful, agencies of Catholic Charities of Paterson that serve those most in need and the frontline workers who have kept the community healthy and safe.
In Bishop Sweeney’s column in last week’s issue of The Beacon, he wrote about all these people and organizations and the hope they have brought to the world during the pandemic. “As we enter this Advent Season, it has occurred to me that, even in this most challenging and difficult year, we have many reasons to be hopeful. As we reflect in prayer, we may even realize that all that we have gone through and continue to face due to the global coronavirus pandemic, can give us more ‘Reasons for Hope.’ ”
[ To watch the virtual Diocesan Christmas Concert, visit www.rcdop.org/live at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 18. ]