Ecumenical Vespers recall Salvado's mission
Ecumenical Vespers on the 200th Anniversary of Dom Rosendo Salvado's Birth
On Tuesday 4th March 2014, the Benedictine community of New Norcia invited the friends from across Western Australia to a memorable evening in St Mary's Cathedral, Perth at the opening of a year of celebrations in honour of the bicentenary of the birth of their founder, Dom Rosendo Salvado.
The soulful chanting of vespers by the monks and a congregation of over 800 led by the angelic voices of the Penrhos College Chorale made for an unforgettable night.
For the Benedictine Community of New Norcia and the Yued people, the local Aboriginal people of New Norcia, it was a wonderful opportunity to share the bicentenary of the birth of New Norcia’s founder, Rosendo Salvado, with the Western
Rosendo Salvado was a major figure in Western Australia in the second half of the nineteenth century. He was a leader in missionary work among the Aboriginal peoples, founding New Norcia in 1847 and building it into what his contemporaries
believed was one of the most progressive and successful missions in Australia.
Over his 54 years at New Norcia, this Spanish immigrant monk became an abbot, bishop, educator, large landholder and public figure as well as a missionary and advocate for Aboriginal peoples.
The chance to launch the commemoration of the 2014 Salvado Bicentenary Year with an event that offered the opportunity for all faiths, and no faith, to come together was important to the monks.
In presence of the Archbishop of Perth, Tim Costello, the Abbot of the Benedictine Community, John Herbert, led the congregation which included representatives from many religious orders, political leaders, school children, friends of New Norcia and people of WA.
The congregation heard story telling from Salvado’s own memoirs, listened to music by the eminent Australian composer, Peter Sculthorpe, written for New Norcia and played by the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia’s Brass Band, and they joined in the chanting of thanks giving psalms - a tradition followed by religions around the world.
The monks will be commemorating Salvado’s inspiring life throughout 2014. A special exhibition was launched at New Norcia on Saturday 1st March which features a range of outstanding photographs, artworks, maps, vestments and books – many conserved especially for his bicentenary.
For more information, please go the Bicentenary section of the New Norcia website: www.newnorcia.wa.edu.au or call +61 (08) 9654 8018.
The Sanctuary of St Mary's Cathedral adorned with symbols representing Salvado's apostolate within Western Australia
Abbot John Herbert osb alongside a life-size statue of Salvado at the entrance of St Mary's Cathedral