Sometimes, the best gifts come at the most unexpected moments.
When “Maging Katulad Mo” bested five other nominees for the honor of ‘Best Inspirational Song’ at the 42nd Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA), even its composer and arranger Fr. Charlie Cenzon SJ was surprised.
“When I was informed that it was one of the finalists, my first thought or reaction was: ‘What is happening?’. I was quite surprised because I didn’t even know that it was submitted as an entry to the 42nd CMMA until a few weeks ago,” recalled the acclaimed Jesuit composer behind beloved hymns “Awit ng Paghahangad”, “Pagkakaibigan” and “Pag-Ibig Ko”.
While “Maging Katulad Mo’s” remarkable win grabbed headlines at the very first virtual presentation of the CMMA, it was Fr. Charlie’s longstanding relationship with JMM chorale Hangad Music Ministry that paved the way for his composition’s success.
“I have great confidence in Hangad, as they have beautifully recorded and published two of my songs in their very first album: Pagkakaibigan and Pag-ibig Ko. When Hangad came to Ateneo de Davao in late 2017, I believe it was the first time they heard of the song and had to learn and memorize it in time for a concert. It was during that day that Hangad asked me if they could record and publish it and, without hesitation, I replied: ‘Of course!’”
“In the course of recording Maging Katulad Mo, there was a close collaboration between Hangad and me in terms of tempo, dynamics, the piano accompaniment, etc. Maging Katulad Mo was the fruit of my prayer during my 30-day retreat in 2012. As such, I instructed Hangad that I wanted it sung very prayerfully and they did so very well,” recounted Fr. Charlie of how the vocal ensemble entrusted to give voice to his work, did so, in impressive fashion.
Though Fr. Charlie believes that songs must create a “personal, spiritual and emotional connection” for it to give inspiration to people, Maging Katulad Mo’s lyrics reveal a humble “plea for grace” and a “desire to follow Christ more fully in service”- two of the deepest longings of the human heart.
“The lyrics were inspired by the fundamental grace to ask for in the Second Week of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises- to grow in a heartfelt knowledge of Jesus Christ so that we can love Him more deeply and follow Him more closely. Similarly, I was also inspired by the song ‘Day by Day’ from the 1971 musical, ‘Godspell’, that goes, ‘to see Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly, day by day.’”
“We live in an imperfect though temporary world that is often beset by pain and suffering. When we are like Christ to others, it provides us with a foretaste of the perfect and eternal world that is yet to be,” explained Fr. Charlie.
With Maging Katulad Mo’s triumph closing out the year on a high note, Fr. Charlie then offered his heartfelt appreciation to all those who contributed to its success, every step of the way.
“Let me thank Hangad for their wonderful and prayerful rendition of Maging Katulad Mo. May it move and touch more hearts that we may all be more like Christ to each other. I would also like to thank JesCom for submitting it to the CMMA, and to its continued support to our efforts to share our gifts and the fruits of our prayers to others.”
Listen and be inspired! Maging Katulad Mo is available for download on digital music platforms Apple Music, Deezer and Spotify. Music sheet can be purchased on the JesCom online store via this link: https://www.jescom.ph/product/maging-katulad-mo-score-sheet/