Oh boy. Holy Name Church in Toronto will be home to what’s called Missa Gaia or “Earth Mass.”
This from the parish bulletin:
Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts Music Department will present Missa Gaia at Holy Name Church Wednesday April 3 and Friday April 5 at 7 p.m. This concert will feature the combined choirs and select band/string performers of CCAA in an eclectic mix of traditional, contemporary and nature sounds all directed to praise Jesus Christ as Lord of all creation.
I’m not sure where Jesus really comes into it. Maybe it’s the sound of howling wolves? Who knows?
Now, the archdiocese mentions Jesus but is He really the focus of the Gaia Mass? Here’s a review of the work by EcoSpirit which says:
The ecosophical movement has its song in Paul Winter’s masterpiece Missa Gaia Earth Mass, for the Missa Gaia embodies a moving and convincing vision of the grace of nature and provides an opportunity for wonder and praise in the face of an interdependent cosmos.
That doesn’t sound very Jesus-y, does it? How about this part?
In Nissa Gaia the second meaning is expressed by means of a monumental initation journey into earth-wisdom, a journey that encompasses nearly the entire first-half of the Earth Mass.
Our musical initiation into the wisdom of the living earth begins in response to the cry of the chorus “Kyrie eleison,” “Lord have mercy upon us.” The response to this chorus is a solo “Beatitudes” accompanied by the chorus, the cathedral choisters (boys chorus)
and piano. The conclusion generates jubilant congregational clapping. “Beatitudes” is the answer to “Kyrie eleison,” affirming the blessedness of all of the earth’s inhabitants. The gift of mercy is here within the living earth. The mercy is this spiritualized biosphere.
As Toronto Catholic Witness writes: “it is outrageous that a Catholic church be used for a piece of work that draws its inspiration from gnostic pantheism. This underscores the grave crisis in the faith that we have not only in our local Catholic schools, but within the Archdiocese itself.”
The music reportedly includes the cries of the Alaskan wolf, the hump-backed whale, the harp seal and the loon.
I’m thinking the loon would feel very at home at this concert.