Rorate Caeli

Event: Palestrina's Missa Brevis on Candlemas - Jersey City, New Jersey

Event notice sent by a local reader:

Palestrina's Missa Brevis will be performed for Candlemas on Tuesday, February 2nd at a 7:00 PM Traditional Latin Solemn High Mass in downtown Jersey City’s historic St. Anthony’s Church, located at Monmouth St. between 6th and 7th. The renowned Cantantes in Cordibus choir, which is under the direction of Maestro Simone Ferraresi, the noted composer, pianist and conductor, will sing this deeply moving and beautiful work.

Preceding the Mass will be the traditional blessing and procession of beeswax candles for the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a day which celebrates the Presentation of Christ in the Temple forty days after Christmas. The special blessing of candles on this day was the cause of the feast being named Candlemas in Medieval England. For centuries it was considered the final day of the Christmas Season. In some parts of Europe, Candlemas remains a public holiday with schools, offices and businesses closed. Many Candlemas traditions such as crepes in France, special cakes in Italy and the forecasting of winter's end in Germany continue to this day. Candlemas is the origin of the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition known as Groundhog's Day.

A social event for young adults will follow the Mass as a strong drive behind St. Anthony's performance of this classical sacred masterpiece is the many young parishioners who have recently joined the growing parish in a quickly gentrifyng city.

Maestro Simone Ferraresi, studied at the Conservatory of Music in Ferrara, Italy where he earned his degree with highest honors; at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna he studied with world renowned pianist and musicologist Paul Badura-Skoda. Maestro Ferraresi specialized in interpretation of classical composers; at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he was awarded the Diploma of the Royal Academy of Music – the highest examinable award given by the Royal Academy. He was also awarded three special prizes for best performance in the final recital. He is the founder and artistic director of the Ferrara International Piano Festival.

St. Anthony’s Church is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Sites. The church built in the Victorian Gothic Style is a pristine example of a church untouched by modern elements and remains a true example of Roman Catholic aesthetic rarely seen today. The church parking lot is located on 6th St. between Coles and Monmouth Street and is easily accessible from the Grove Street PATH, the Newport PATH and Light Rail stop.