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A magnificent Day of Thanksgiving in Brooklyn

Fr. Eric Cadin - published on 10/14/18

To celebrate Magnificat’s Silver Jubilee of publication, and twenty years in the United States, the Magnificat foundation and the Diocese of Brooklyn organized a gathering of prayer, beauty, and inspiration

The marquee of Brooklyn’s Kings Theater announced and invited all passersby on Flatbush Avenue to “A Day of Thanksgiving.” Walking into the majestic theater, amidst a revived French Baroque architecture, this time of thanksgiving began in awe. The sentiment evoked by both the place and the triumphant program from Magnificat elicited neither stuffiness nor nostalgia; rather, for a time, we knew we would experience something wonderful. We did.

To celebrate Magnificat’s Silver Jubilee of publication, and twenty years in the United States, its namesake foundation and the Diocese of Brooklyn organized a gathering of prayer, beauty, inspiration, drama, and meditation. Magnificat delivered upon all that it promised. Those in attendance, a capacity 3000 person crowd, heard from some of America’s foremost Catholic speakers, enjoyed classical music selections, venerated the world’s first family reliquary of the Martins of Lisieux, witnessed an extraordinary drama, and even sang along (yes, Catholics sang!) to great hymns of praise.

Magnificat provides prayers, devotions, readings, and art. More than a guide—though it is a beautiful one—Magnificat invites its readers as a companion into the mystery and heart of God and His Church. Not merely pious rhetoric, the creativity and beauty of God the Father shines through the meditations and art which abound in Magnificat. This Day of Thanksgiving, following upon similar occasions in Boston, Philadelphia, Southern California, and Memphis, invited all attendees into a lived experience of Magnificat. What would it look, feel, and sound like to bring the pages alive—Magnificat Day of Thanksgiving.

Great teachers like Fr. Peter John Cameron and Dr. Scott Hahn drew from stories of readers and the daring words of the Lord’s Prayer. Bishop Robert Barron, from video in Rome, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley challenged all to evangelize with beauty and to cultivate hearts of service and love. Prayer was led by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States Archbishop Christophe Pierre and accompanied by the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York and the Choirs of the College of New Jersey. Perhaps the crowning moment, however, arrived by means of a gift, an original production of a Symphonic Meditation on the Seven Mysteries of Salvation, composed by Magnificat founder and visionary Pierre-Marie Dumont.

The production and execution of the Day of Thanksgiving rightly earned great acclaim from those in attendance. A better day of Catholic beauty and prayer would be hard to find or replicate. Even more than visual and sensory wonder, this triumphant day offered a moment, an incarnate encounter, with Hope. It is much repeated and clear to offer the observation that the Church in the United States has suffered much in recent times. As each and all of us wrestle with mysteries of faith, iniquity, grace, and love we need real and tangible moments of wonder and wisdom and communion. In his recollections, long-time English editor Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P. referred to Magnificat as a friend. This friend draws us each day into the treasury, the riches of the Jesus’ Bride, the Church. This friend opens our minds and hearts with its meditations; it shows us order and peace with its art; it reveals to us Jesus with its readings and prayers. This friend, Magnificat, brought people from all ages, backgrounds, and experiences to Brooklyn to see and to be Church. To celebrate Magnificat’s Silver Jubilee, the Day of Thanksgiving showed forth to all the blessing and glory of the Catholic Church. Magnificat anima mea Dominum.

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