Composer Sir James MacMillan has been commissioned by the Shrine of Fátima to write a work for the shrine’s centenary.
Sir James, a Catholic Herald contributing editor, will write the 15-minute work for the closing concert of the Centennial of the Apparitions at Fátima on October 13, 2017.
The work, for choir, soloists and orchestra will be premiered by the Gulbenkian Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Joana Carneiro, alongside a new piece by Portuguese composer Eurico Carrapatoso. Pope Francis is expected to attend the event.
The event, which marks 100 years since Our Lady appeared to three children, Lucia dos Santos, Jacinta Marto and Francisco Marto. Although they were jailed by the local authorities, the apparitions soon gathered widespread respect.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, where the concert will take place, was built in honour of the reported visitations. Thousands visit the shrine each year.
Sir James attended this year’s gathering. He said: “It is beneficial to think about a piece years in advance. I end up writing music with a lot of subconscious preparation and for that reason my trip to Fátima was crucial.”