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Orchestral High Mass for Ascension Thursday [Sacred Heart, Grand Rapids, Michigan]

Thu, 5/5

Orchestral High Mass for Ascension Thursday at Sacred Heart, Grand Rapids

Sacred Heart Parish of Grand Rapids will offer a Solemn High Mass in the Traditional Latin or ‘Tridentine’ form for Ascension Day, Thursday, May 5, 2016, at 7:00 pm. Special music for the Mass will include Wolfgang Mozart’s ‘Spatzen-Messe’ for choir and orchestra, composed in 1776 for Salzburg Cathedral, and sung here in its proper liturgical context.

One of the great feast days of the Church, Ascension Day falls forty days after Easter and celebrates Jesus’ ascent in glory to the right hand of the God the Father. It is traditionally celebrated with festive music, including trumpets. This year Sacred Heart offers a Solemn High Mass—the ceremonially richest form of the Mass—with choir and chamber orchestra to adorn the feast day and to share with the city the gift of great Catholic liturgical music.

Mozart’s Mass in C major (K. 220), nicknamed the ‘Sparrow Mass’ after the playful violin duet in the Benedictus section, was first performed on Easter Sunday, April 7, 1776. “This Mass represents one of Mozart’s groundbreaking achievements,” noted Sacred Heart’s director of sacred music, Dr. Daniel Bennett Page. “The composer’s employer, the prince-archbishop of Salzburg, hankered after Mass settings which were grand and festive in the style of a missa solemnis, while also compact in the style of a missa brevis. His young court and cathedral composer was just the man to synthesize brilliantly these two previously exclusive musical genres.”

The celebrant will be Father Robert Sirico, pastor of Sacred Heart Church. The liturgical deacon will be Father Jason Catania of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. All are welcome to attend this liturgy.

A gala reception for all attending begins immediately after the Mass and is sponsored by the Authenticum lecture series of Sacred Heart Parish and of the lay apostolate, Catechetical Foundations (

Please visit Sacred Heart Parish’s website at

Daniel Bennett Page, Director of Sacred Music

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