Practice makes perfect for Papal Mass Choir in Phoenix Park

Posted On July, 31 - 2018 Practice makes perfect for Papal Mass Choir in Phoenix Park Image

Practice makes perfect for Papal Mass Choir in Phoenix Park

  • Music, Composers and Liturgical Music Team announced 

  • Irish music and composers to feature prominently at Papal Mass

Organisers of the World Meeting of Families 2018 got a taste of what the music for the Papal Mass will sound like in the Phoenix Park on Sunday 26 August at the first large scale choir rehearsal in the RDS, Dublin last Saturday. 

More than 2,000 members of the Papal Mass Choir gathered together to do a full run through of the music for the Closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families 2018. In total3,000 voices from across all 26 dioceses will make up the main choir, and many more will contribute to the congregational singing with their own parish choirs in the corrals spread across the Phoenix Park. Individuals and choirs have been rehearsing together locally in their dioceses for a number of months but this was the first time that the countrywide group was brought together. 

Commenting after the rehearsal Derek Mahady said that he was heartened by the work and effort that each diocese has put into the preparation of the music for the papal Mass. The coming together of so many voices in song has given all of us involved in leading the music a sense of how uplifting it will be for all those families gathered for the Closing Mass of WMOF2018 with Pope Francis.

The WMOF2018 has also announced the full details of the Liturgical Music and the Music Team for the Papal Mass. The music team includes: 

  • Derek Mahady as Liturgical Music Coordinator; 
  • Dr John O’Keeffe as Conductor of the Core Choir and Orchestra; 
  • David Grealy as Organist; 
  • Amy Ryan and Dominic Finn as Assistant Conductors of the Massed Choir. 

The music chosen for the Papal Mass will place an emphasis on congregational singing so many of the pieces will be familiar to those in the Phoenix Park congregation of 500,000. 

Irish music and composers feature prominently throughout the Mass. The Opening Hymn is A Joy For All The Earth which is the official hymn for WMOF2018 written by Ephrem Feeley. Well-known liturgical composer Father Liam Lawton has composed a new Psalm for the Mass which is called The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor

Two pieces by Ireland’s most renowned liturgical composer, Seán Ó Riada, feature as the Penitential Rite/Kyrie (A Thiarna Déan Trócaire), and at the Lord’s Prayer (Ár nAthair). Fintan O’Carroll’s Celtic Alleluia with an enhanced verse by Ronan McDonagh will be sung as the Gospel acclamation. 

The Apostles’ Creed will be John O’Keeffe’s own composition, while Fr. Pat Ahern’s A Thiarna Éist Linn will be sung between the Prayers of the Faithful. 

As this is a World Meeting of Families there will be a number of international composers featured in the Mass including Caritas et Amor by Z. Randall Stroope has been chosen for the Presentation of Gifts and three piece from Jean-Paul Lécot’s Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes will feature as the Gloria, Sanctus, and Doxology/Amen.

The Communion hymns will be Ave Verum (William Byrd), The Last Supper (Bernard Sexton), Come Feast at this Table (Ian Callanan), Anima Christi (Mon. Marco Frisina), and Bí Íosa im Chroíse

And finally, the Anthem to Our Lady will be Go mBeannaítear Duit, A Mhuire by Peadar Ó Riada (son of Seán), and the Recessional Hymn: Jesus Christ, You Are My Life by Mon. Marco Frisina.


The Closing Mass of WMOF2018 will take place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on Sunday 26 August at 3.00pm. Pope Francis will celebrate this Mass which will have a congregation of 500,000 people including 15,000 from overseas. 

Biographies of Liturgical Music Team:

  • Liturgical Music Coordinator, Derek Mahady is a native of Rooskey, Co. Roscommon and works as a choral conductor, vocalist, piano accompanist and music educator. Derek has been involved in liturgical music from an early age. He began his liturgical music ministry in parishes throughout his home diocese of Elphin and his neighbouring diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois. Currently, he works in music ministry at Newman University Church, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin and has regularly featured as a regional and national tutor for the Irish Church Music Association.  Derek holds a Master of Arts Degree in Choral Conducting from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, a Higher Diploma in Education from University of Dublin, Trinity College and a Bachelor of Music (Pedagogy) from the Dublin Institute of Technology, Conservatory of Music and Drama. Derek also features as a soloist on the first recording of the official World Meeting of Families 2018 hymn A Joy for all the Earth. 
  • Conductor, John O’Keeffe is director of Sacred Music and Choral Groups at St Patrick’s College and NUI Maynooth.  The native of Portmagee, Co Kerry, studied Church music at St Finian’s College, Mullingar, before going on to further education at universities in Maynooth, Limerick, and UCD, and at the Catholic cathedrals of Dublin and Westminster, where he served as organ scholar. 
  • Organist, David Grealy, began his musical training as a chorister in the Galway Boy Singers, and organ scholar of Galway Cathedral from 2002-2005. He has held various positions as organist, including at Westminster Cathedral, and is currently the associate organist in St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, where he works closely with the Palestrina Choir, as well as playing the organ for the Cathedral’s busy schedule of liturgies. 
  • Assistant Conductor of Massed Choir, Amy Ryan is originally from Killarney, Co Kerry. She holds a BMus from the CIT Cork School of Music and a Masters degree from the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy of Music, Hungary. As Assistant Director of St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral Girls’ Choir from 2015-2018, she led the choir in Sunday morning liturgies, most recently on RTÉ television. Amy founded and conducts award-winning chamber choir, Cuore. In March of this year she conducted the Irish premiere of Graun’s passion oratorio Der Tod Jesu with Jubilate Choir. In April she conducted UCD Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic Choir in their performance of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at the National Concert Hall. Amy currently lectures in Music at Trinity College, Dublin and at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.
  • Assistant Conductor of Massed Choir, Dominic Finn is originally from Cobh, Co. Cork. He studied a Degree in Arts & Music at UCC, followed by a Diploma in Sacred Music at NUI Maynooth. He is currently the Director of Music at St. Colman’s Cathedral Cobh, and has been involved there for over 24 years as well as throughout the Diocese of Cloyne. Dominic also works as a secondary school teacher at Colaiste Muire, Cobh where he teaches Geography and Music. His choirs at St. Colman’s Cathedral have done many national broadcasts and recordings over the years, and have also worked with several composers such as Philip Stopford, John Rutter, and Liam Lawton to name just a few. Dominic has travelled extensively conducting his choirs from the Cathedral in major venues including St. Stephen’s Cathedral Vienna, Westminster Cathedral London, St. James’s Church, Spanish Place London, along with St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City in 2009 and 2013. Next year Dominic will oversee the music for the 100 year celebrations of the Dedication of St. Colman’s Cathedral, Diocese of Cloyne.
  • Father Liam Lawton is a priest of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. Throughout his two decade-long career, his songs have been sung by choirs all over the world, have been translated into a number of different languages, and national and international artists have recorded them.  He has recorded 18 collections of music to date, and has graced the stages of the Vatican, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall Chicago, the Anaheim Convention Centre in L.A., The Malmo Arena in Sweden, The National Concert Hall, Dublin, and many of the world’s sacred sites.

For media information contact: Brenda Drumm, Media and Communications Manager, WMOF2018 on 00353 (0) 87 310 4444.

Photographs of the choir rehearsal are available on request from WMOF2018.

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