Church

Vatican official plays classical piano recital to help suffering Christians

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri performs at concert hosted by former "Punk Princess"

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri at the Vatican

Catholic Church England and Wales

A Vatican cardinal demonstrated recently that one can use one’s talents to help suffering Christians in the Middle East, even if you can’t go to the war zones in which they live.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops, performed a classical piano recital to raise funds for persecuted Christians in the Middle East, according to a report at Ankawa.com.

The Italian cardinal also celebrated Mass at the Brompton Oratory in London July 10 prior to the performance.

Proceeds from the collection at the Mass and from the sale of tickets for the event were donated to Aid to the Church in Need for the charity’s work in Iraq and Syria.

The evening was hosted by Gloria, Princess of Thurn and Taxis, once known as the “Punk Princess.” More than 150 guests included Cardinal Antonio Mennini, Apostolic Nuncio to the Court of St. James, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster.

Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need, thanked organizer Father Julian Large and the parishioners of the Brompton Oratory who have raised about £60,000 for the work of the charity since July 2015.

“The needs are immense throughout the Middle East and we only reach out in faith and charity thanks to our individual donors, parishes and a few private foundations,” Kyrke-Smith said. “We are called to do all that we can to continue this support for our brothers and sisters in our homeland of faith – and many in the Middle East tell me that there can be no peace without the Christians who are bridge builders.”

Following a meeting with Pope Francis in Rome last month, Aid to the Church in Need launched its Be God’s Mercy campaign and has approved aid to provide food for 11,800 suffering families from Mosul and the Nineveh Plain.

The charity is also supporting an additional 1,800 people displaced in northern Iraq with help for rental accommodation for six months, providing shelter for 641 households.

 

Cardinal Baldisseri, who has been playing piano his entire adult life, even during diplomatic assignments abroad, has recorded three CDs. The performance in London was not his first for charity. According to Catholic News Service, he celebrated Mass for inmates at Rome’s Regina Coeli prison shortly after Easter. After Mass he played for them the theme songs from the films “Doctor Zhivago” and “Love Story,” Neapolitan classics and a smattering of Chopin.

 

Shawn Neal

John Burger

John Burger is a news editor at Aleteia. He formerly worked at the National Catholic Register and Catholic New York in the Archdiocese of New York. He has also written for a wide variety of Catholic publications.