Christmas is a time to look upon life and ask what it is really all about, Pope Francis told an international group of music artists.
“The time before Christmas calls us to ask ourselves, ‘What is it that I am waiting for in my life? What is the great desire of my heart?’ You too, with your songs, help awaken or reawaken this healthy human ‘yearning’ in the hearts of many people,” he said reported CNS.
The pope was speaking on Dec. 13 with the group of singers, songwriters, musicians and conductors a day before they were to due perform at a Vatican charity concert raising money to help protect the Amazon and support its indigenous communities.
Those performing included U.S. Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter Lionel Richie; Scottish singer Susan Boyle, who was a 2009 finalist on “Britain’s Got Talent” TV show; and Welsh vocalist Bonnie Tyler, singer of hit singles such as “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and “It’s a Heartache.”
Several Italian performers and the Charleston Gospel Choir were also on the bill for the 2019 “Christmas Concert in the Vatican.”
The pope told the performers and organizers that God is the author of the “yearning” people feel in their heart, and “he comes to meet us by this route.”
God cannot be found along the path of “vain compulsion to acquire possessions or to keep up appearances. It is not there that God comes; no one will meet on that route. But surely, he comes wherever there is hunger and thirst for peace, justice, freedom and love,” the pope said.
“Dear artists, I thank you for all that you do. I wish you the best for your activities and your spiritual growth,” the pope said, asking that they be touched by the “mystery of Christmas, so that you can convey some of that same tenderness to those who listen to you.”
Proceeds from ticket sales and donations were to go toward a Salesian project to aid indigenous communities in Brazil and to a campaign by Scholas Occurrentes (schools for encounter) to promote the need for reforestation among children from 450,000 schools around the world.
The show, on Dec. 14, is to be broadcast by Italian television on Christmas Eve.
That same day Pope Francis took part — via video link — in the launch of a Scholas Occurrentes headquarters in the U.S.
Scholas Occurrentes is worldwide educational project, launched by Pope Francis in 2013, to promote a culture of encounter among high school students in the fields of sport, art and technology.