Wednesday, January 27, 2021



The excitement is palpable. Although it is translated into a variety of languages, the ethos and bounciness of this song is typical of Italian contemporary religious music. I am not sure how you would describe it other than Italian contemporary:

Official theme song for World Youth Day 2023 released

“Há Pressa no Ar” - the theme song for World Youth Day 2023, recalls Mary’s rush to meet her cousin Elizabeth and her “yes” to the Angel Gabriel during the annunciation of the birth of Our Lord.

By Vatican News staff writer

The official theme song of World Youth Day (WYD) 2023, scheduled to take place in Lisbon, Portugal, was released on Wednesday, exactly two years since the announcement of the city chosen by Pope Francis to host the next world meeting for young people.

Titled “Há Pressa no Ar” ("There's a rush in the air"), the song is inspired by the WYD 2023 theme: “Mary rose up and went with haste” (Lk 1:39). It recalls the “Yes” of Our Lady and her rush to meet her cousin Elizabeth, who was also with child.

Young people from all over the world are invited to identify with Our Lady when singing the song, “disposing themselves to serve, to the mission and to the transformation of the world” reads a statement accompanying the release of the song. The lyrics also evoke the "party" of WYD and the joy that comes from Jesus.

The theme song was recorded in two versions: one in Portuguese and the other in an international version that includes Portuguese, English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Chosen from among many

The lyrics to the WYD 2023 theme song were authored by João Paulo Vaz, a priest, while the music was composed by Pedro Ferreira, a teacher and musician, both from the Diocese of Coimbra in the center region of Portugal. The muscial arrangements were made by the musician Carlos Garcia.

“Há Pressa no Ar” was selected through a national contest open to the participation of Portuguese people of legal age. Participants in the contest were required to take their inspiration from the WYD 2023 theme, set by Pope Francis; the aims of WYD, highlighting the theme of evangelization; and the Portuguese culture.

The over one hundred entries that were sent in to the Local Organization Committee (LOC) were evaluated by a jury of Arts and Music professionals. The producing process was completed in 2021 with the participation of young people from all over the country, as well as some participants in the competition who, despite not being selected, were involved in the final recording.

One song to gather many

The authors of the theme song insist that the “melody was born before the lyrics.” Pedro Ferreira, 41, composed a melody “thought to congregate, to gather a community” in a small room alone by the piano. Alongside some other friends from the “Parish Band,” his musical group, Ferreira asked Fr. João Paulo Vaz to write the lyrics.

Fr. Vaz recalls not changing the melody. With “a guitar in my hands, I started writing, just like I usually do,” said the 51-year-old priest.

The song style is “a popular song, cheerful, young, easy to learn and easy to translate and to adapt” according to the requirements of the national contest. Ferreira says that musician Carlos Garcia, the one behind the musical arrangements, did a remarkable job of not changing the song’s structure or form, yet enriching it uniquely. Ferreira is also the founder of the Portuguese band “Anaquim.”

Fr. Vaz recalls that the theme of the Portuguese edition: “Mary rose up and went with haste” (Lk 1:39) helped him revise his own relationship with Our Lady, and then the lyrics creative process became “a very deep time of praying.”

For more information, you can visit the official website of WYD 2023


ByzRus said...

Pleasant song and engaging video. Basic inclusive marketing with a contemporary slant. Probably there will be those who would have preferred Gregorian Chant (myself Eastern Chant) with a slow motion thurible wafting our prayers heavenward but, I don't mind this style of music and imagery outside of liturgy. It seems appropriately geared towards its audience. Hopefully, some of the WYD events focus on tradition and present it in a welcoming, accessible way (e.g. not just for the fringes of which I admit to being part). But, to kick things off, this seems fine.

Anonymous said...

oh, whoopie. ANOTHER shallow mass crowd entertainment event masquerading as religion. Just as most diocese youth "retreats" except bigger. And generally only for the very wealthiest of kids to attend. If THIS doesn't fix things, nothing will.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess, past the marketing advertisement of slickly produced theme song and totally 1970s banner/mascot STILL best rendered in felt and geared for t-shirt sales.

It will consist of loud praise and worship concerts, impassioned speakers at "workshops" in "venues" repeating their same speeches given 20 times elsewhere that year, followed by "break out sessions", followed by more loud praise and worship pop tune singing where everyone is encouraged to stand, wave arms, all of which is repeated until the herd of kids can hardly stand.

Followed, of course, by a Mass to make it a religious experience. Otherwise essentially a very long pop music concert but with only half the drugs. And attended by the children of the parish/diocese creme of the crop collection plate donors.

A professional, packaged and marketed religious experience for all. Be there or be □. Save the Church, save the world.

John Nolan said...

Italian it may be. Palestrina it ain't.

ByzRus said...

John Nolan said...
Italian it may be. Palestrina it ain't.

Agree. It's not Palestrina and I don't think it needs to be. It sounds predominantly Portuguese to me, actually.

I prefer the following though I wouldn't want to be standing with the choir under those bouncing lights (clearly, they must not be as litigious there as we are here to accept that risk): The target audience for this event will likely not be drawn in the first instance to this style, Gregorian Chant, or, polyphony.

That aside, while it's sentimental, it's mostly harmless outside of the confines of liturgy and, hopefully, the event itself isn't saccharine in its messaging. The majority of younger Catholics are either tepid in their faith or, "none". Being non-alienating, hopefully the tepid youth might be willing to consider attending though, as mentioned by another commenter, there is likely exclusivity associated with actually getting there.