The below email just 'fell' into my inbox & I thought it no harm to give it a little 'oxygen' and spread the word by re-printing it.
If you'd like to find out more about the work of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
in Ireland, you can check out their website here.
This young community, whose seminary and Motherhouse are in Florence, Italy, has undertaken the vast project of restoring Sacred Heart Church, which fell into disrepair due to neglect after its sale six years ago. While they have many urgent restoration needs such as the heating system and roof, the repair of the organ is emblematic of their ultimate goal: to honour God by offering Him fitting worship, especially through the dignity and beauty of the Mass. Founded in 1990 the Institute of Christ the King places special emphasis on the importance of beauty as a means of drawing souls to God, as well as the unity of the Catholic Faith with genuine Christian culture. Already having earned the reputation in the United States for promoting the arts, the Institute hopes that Sacred Heart Church may serve as a point of reference for the cultural life of Limerick.
The former Jesuit Church long held a prestigious role for its music program ever since the dedication in 1869. In 1870 a new organ from the company Walker and Sons was installed, labelled “first class” by the local press. Accounts of the dedication ceremonies for the altars in 1876 reveal that the music was of a rare splendour for Ireland at that time, including the Credo from Haydn’s Imperial Mass and the Sanctus and Benedictus from Gounod’s recently composed Messe Solenelle. Rivalling the repertoire of the great basilicas of Europe, the Jesuit Church in Limerick boasted an extremely high musical quality, admired by local music lovers as well as devout church goers for over a century. In 1919 the Caecilian Musical Society was founded, performing operettas and concerts which raised funds for the new organ installed by Telford organ builders of Dublin in 1924.
This magnificent instrument contains some 31 stops, or sets of pipes, ranging from the softest and most delicate flute stops to the brilliant trumpet, easily heard from outside the church. Maintained for decades, the organ received less and less attention nearing the church’s sale in the decade preceding. When the Institute of Christ the King purchased the church a working pipe organ seemed simply a distant hope, unrealizable in the face of so many expenses. The mechanism of the Telford organ though was so well constructed that it was able to be made playable again with minor repairs thanks to Padraig O’Donovan, a young organ builder from Cork. While the size of the instrument inhibits the entire organ to be fixed in time for the concert on March 3rd, sufficient portions of it will allow visitors to hear once again its majestic and sonorous tones echoing through the church, distinguished for its acoustical excellence.
The concert will demonstrate the rich tonal colours of the Telford organ, highlighted by organ pieces in different musical styles and periods. The recitalist, Abbé Matthew Walter, 31, from Rochester, New York, worked as a professional musician before joining the Institute of Christ the King. As one of the 80 seminarians of the Institute, he has been assigned this year to Ireland to help with the work here, especially in regards to the music of the community.
Immediately before the concert, the organ will be blessed by Monsignor Gilles Wach, the founder and Prior General of the Institute who will be visiting that weekend from Italy. Sacred Heart Church, which serves at present as the chapel for the community, may still be in need of much repair, but its marble walls will soon resound with the unexpected resurrection of the pipe organ, to brilliantly accompany the solemn ceremonies and graceful melodies of Gregorian Chant sung daily by the community, and herald the dawn of second era for this beloved building.
Admission is free but donations will be gratefully accepted for the restoration expenses of the organ and the church.
Yours in Christ
Canon Wulfran Lebocq
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
Sacred Heart Church
'Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum'