“Father Forgive”, a new composition by Saint Mary’s music professor, A. Eric Heukeshoven, will receive both international and national premieres in the coming weeks.

The work for choir and flute is based on the “Coventry Litany of Reconcilation” – written by Canon Joseph Poole in 1958. The text was inspired by a relentless bombing raid on the city of Coventry, England and its famous cathedral on November 14, 1940. In the days that followed, two enduring symbols emerged from the rubble: two charred roof-beams which had fallen in the shape of a cross were bound and placed at the site of the ruined altar, and three medieval roof nails were also formed into a cross, which became the original Cross of Nails. Shortly after, the words ‘Father Forgive’ – deliberately neutral in content – were inscribed on the wall of the ruined chancel, and Provost Dick Howard made a commitment not to seek revenge, but to strive for forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible.

The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,

The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee, FATHER FORGIVE
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Heukeshoven first read these words on a visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich, Germany last summer. After reading, the composer turned to his wife, Janet, and said “I have to set this to music.”

The Saint Mary’s University Chamber Singers, under the direction of Dr. Patrick O’Shea, will premiere the new music on their 2019 International tour of Germany and Belgium in late February and early March. Dr. Janet Heukeshoven will accompany the choir on flute.

Local audiences can hear the US premiere at the group’s Homecoming concert on Thursday March 7, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in Mary Chapel of the Angels – Wabasha and Vila streets in Winona. The concert is free and the public is warmly invited.

For more information, contact Assistant Professor of Music, A. Eric Heukeshoven at 507-457-7292 or eheukesh@smumn.edu.

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