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By Sean Gallagher
Lent is a time to enter more deeply into the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. One way that Catholics have done this for centuries is through praying the Stations of the Cross.
At 3 p.m. on March 12 at St. John the Evangelist Church, 126 W. Georgia St. in Indianapolis, people can enter into this age-old prayer in a multitude of ways.
On that day, Marilyn Mason, a professor of music at the University of Michigan for more than 50 years, will perform 14 organ meditations on the Stations of the Cross composed by famed French composer Marcel Dupré (1886-1971).
Begun originally as organ improvisations, Dupré later composed his meditations on the Stations of the Cross with the intention that poems on the same topic by Frenchman Paul Claudel (1868-1955)—written prior to Dupré’s work—be recited before each of the movements of his piece.
That will be the case during the concert at St. John the Evangelist Church.
During the concert, servers holding candles and a crucifix will process to each of the church’s stations that were painted in 1893 by French artist Louis Chovet.
While Mason is playing each meditation, photos of various artistic depictions of the stations will be projected onto a large screen in the church’s sanctuary.
The event is being co-sponsored by St. John the Evangelist Parish and the Indianapolis chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
In a recent interview with The Criterion, Tom Nichols, the music director at St. John the Evangelist Parish, described Mason as “one of the greats.”
“In organ circles, this [concert] is a big deal,” he said. “This is someone who is extremely established and historic.”
But Nichols also expressed his hope that those who come to the March 12 concert will be moved spiritually.
“I’m looking forward to people coming away from this saying that they enjoyed an unusual Lenten experience that helped them look at the story of Christ’s passion in perhaps a new way,” he said.
Nichols also noted that this multimedia approach to a centuries-old prayer form is one that might appeal to a culture often driven by images.
“We’re a very visually oriented society,” he said. “I think that this kind of plays into that by being an experience for more than just one of our senses at the same time.”
There is no cost to attend the concert, but freewill donations will be accepted.
(For more information about the March 12 concert at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis, call 317-635-2021.) †