First Mass in honour of Matteo Ricci
The cause of beatification for the great Jesuit missionary is underway. Four choirs, three soloists, an organ, and brass instruments under composer Aurelio Porfiri will perform pieces and songs at St Joseph’s Seminary, an ancient place of training for missionaries in the Far East. The composer is also working on an oratorio dedicated to Ricci, with a libretto by Fr Gianni Criveller, PIME missionary in Hong Kong.

Macau (AsiaNews) – Next Sunday, 26 April, the Missa in honorem Matthaei Ricci will be performed for the first time in Macau’s historic St Joseph Seminary to commemorate the great Jesuit missionary (1552-1610) who was one of the foreign missionaries who lived and died at China’s Imperial Court, in Beijing.

Matteo Ricci is not yet a saint. The gathering of documents for the cause of his beatification ended only a few months ago. However, such a Mass – performed in a concert – is a prayer that illustrates the desire for the canonisation one of the Church’s greatest figures, someone who built “a bridge” between East and West, to quote John Paul II.

The place where the premiere will take part is significant because for at least two centuries, St Joseph’s Seminary (Seminário de São José) in Macau trained the missionaries sent to China, Japan and the Far East.

The Mass in honour of Matteo Ricci is the work of Aurelio Porfiri, an Italian composer who has lived in Macau for several years. His Mass "for assembly, female choir, brass and organ" includes four choirs, as well as soloists Lily Li, Mario Xia, and Dian Paramita.

"Obviously, we cannot speak of an actual liturgy since the Church has not officially decided on the beatification of the Jesuit missionary,” Maestro Porfiri told AsiaNews. However, “One can say that it is a Mass to honour him in Macao where he lived for a time, before going to the Chinese mainland. It is a Mass that includes the singing of the assembly enriched by the polyphonic choir and by the solemnity of the brass and organ. "

This is not the first time that Aurelio Porfiri has been involved with Matteo Ricci. For some time, he has been working on another project, an oratorio dedicated to the great Italian missionary from Macerata, combining his music with the libretto by Fr Gianni Criveller, PIME.

Porfiri hopes to complete this work by the end of 2015.