“Holy Darkness: The Ignatian Spirit in the time of COVID 19” (Concert Recap)

In a moving tribute to St. Ignatius of Loyola on his feast day, Jesuit Music Ministry’s (JMM) “Holy Darkness: The Ignatian Spirit in the time of COVID 19” brought uplifting music and soulful reflection to an online audience of 98,000 last Friday evening, July 31.

Streamed live via Jesuit Communications, Radyo Katipunan 87.9FM and several social media partners’ Facebook page, the grand musical production marked the fitting conclusion to “One Foot Raised”, the month-long Ateneo de Manila 2020 Ignatian Festival.

Jesuit Communications Foundation (JesCom) Executive Director Fr. Emmanuel Alfonso SJ, greeted viewers by introducing the concert’s themes of light and darkness, as well as the connection between our ongoing struggles and St. Ignatius’ own transformative faith journey.

“Indeed, this pandemic has been a test of faith, but it was also our faith that saw us through. In darkness St. Ignatius found the light, that kept him on his path to God for the rest of his life. Like him, it is the same light that has brought us out of the dark and into the very heart of God.”

‘Aba Ginoong Maria’ by the Ateneo de Naga University Choir raised the curtain for the opening act “Crisis and Desolation”, as ADNU President Fr. Robert Rivera SJ spoke of complete surrender to God amidst our personal struggles brought about by the global health crisis.

Meanwhile, Fr. Arnel Aquino SJ’s instrumental number ‘I Beg to Fall In Love With Thee, My Lord’, Sr. Bubbles Bandojo rc and Sr. Susay Valdez rc’s ‘Holy Darkness’ duet and Koro Ilustrado’s ‘Sabay sa Ihip ng Hangin’ rendition, helped audiences encounter God’s calming presence while being guided by excerpts from Fr. Ramon Bautista SJ’s ‘Schooled by the Spirit’.  

Following Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ’s encouraging reflection on remaining hopeful as St. Ignatius once did while “Crippled and Converted”, inspiring performances from Musica Chiesa, Himig Heswita, Tinig Barangka, Pansol Choir, Bukas Palad Music Ministry, Noel Cabangon and Toto Sorioso, allowed viewers to ponder deeply on the kindness of heart shown to them throughout these trying times.

As the musicale’s second half opened with Fr. Karel San Juan SJ’s poignant sharing on discreta caritas, Serge Gabriel’s poem ‘Wonderboy’, Arman Ferrer and Toto Sorioso’s collaboration on ‘Far Greater Love’, Hangad’s ‘Prayer for Generosity’ and the Ateneo Chamber Singers’ ‘Suscipe’, prepared thousands tuning in to be “Committed and Renewed by Love” and ready to make truly loving choices that serve God and others, in the face of the pandemic’s challenges.

With the end of the Ateneo Boys Choir’s marching-tune salute of ‘Fundador’ to the Jesuit founder and before Provincial Superior Fr. Jun Viray SJ’s final blessing, JMM Director Lester Mendiola offered his sincere appreciation for a truly wonderful evening of music and prayer.

“Finding God in all things also means finding love in all things. In our darkest hours, remain still, remain calm. God is there with us. He has always been there. Sisters and brothers, we thank you for joining our spiritual journey tonight. I hope that you are all safe and that you and your loved ones are always blessed with good health.”

Proceeds and donations for “Holy Darkness: The Ignatian Spirit in the time of COVID 19”, will be for the benefit of JesCom’s various ministries and its mission of media evangelization.

Please follow JesCom (@jescomph) on Facebook, for more information on the media arm of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus’ digital productions, events and services that continue to serve the nation through faith and education, during the COVID 19 pandemic.