MANILA, June 10, 2014— The country’s highest priest paid tribute to artists recently in a press briefing for a benefit concert for the rebuilding of churches and chapels in Eastern Visayas destroyed by Yolanda.
“The reconstruction of the world, even the salvation of the world, on a human level, at least, depends so much on artists,” Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle said.
In response to people asking why the Church is putting up a concert when others means for raising funds can do as well, if not better, he declared, “Sublime things, noble things, spiritual things are best expressed in art.”
Like his Renaissance predecessors, Tagle believed that “artists can lead all of us to deep truths which serve as foundation of civilization and of a community that knows what justice, truth and communion mean”.
He stressed that these things, which “cannot be taught by ideology”, “can only be intuited and expressed by artists”.
The cardinal shared that the Church has always been “the repository of so much art expressions, paintings, sculpture, music, architecture”.
Popes and cardinals had supported artistic geniuses like Michelangelo, Bernini, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Bramante, and many others.
Billed as “RISE”, the concert featuring Ryan Cayabyab and his music will be presented on June 11, 7 p.m. at the Manila Cathedral-Basilica, Intramuros, Manila.
Also slated to perform are the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, seven Philippine-based choirs, “Voices of Aloha” from the University of Hawaii, singers Basil Valdez, Dulce, Jed Madela, mezzo-soprano Clarissa Ocampo, and tenor Ervin Lumauag.
Proceeds of the concert will go to the rebuilding of Yolanda-hit chapels and churches in Samar and Leyte through Caritas Manila’s “Damayan sa Haiyan” rehabilitation program.
Caritas Manila executive director Fr. Anton Pascual said, “We must remain in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are slowly recovering from the blows of ‘Yolanda’. The chapel has been a place of refuge for the survivors, symbolizing hope and giving them the reassurance that God is with us.”
Tagle explained, “Caritas Manila is the social service arm of the Catholic Church, especially in the Archdiocese of Manila…whenever there are natural disasters and even human-made disasters, which happen on a daily basis … Caritas Manila is there to be the presence of the Church in responding to the needs of the people.”
He noted, “Even if the actions of Caritas Manila have not always been placed on the front pages of the dailies, it doesn’t mean that the action is missing.”
Cayabyab, a Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice awardee for his contribution to sacred music and religious themes, said that the concert is his thanksgiving for his 60th birth anniversary.
Caritas Manila also marks its 60th anniversary this year. (Raymond A. Sebastián)