Local Musician to Perform During the Pope’s Visit to the Shroud of Turin
Curtis Stephan, Singer/Songwriter, will be among International Christian Artists performing during Papal visit
For the first time in 10 years, the Shroud of Turin is now on public display in northwest Italy. This obscure occurrence has presented a local Catholic musician the opportunity to not only view what is believed to be the burial cloth of Christ, but to also realize a life-long dream—to perform for the Pope. Curtis Stephan, Music Minister at St. Ann’s Parish in Coppell and Spirit & Song Artist, has been invited to perform on May 2nd for two events in Turin including the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. Although Curtis’ music has taken him to youth rallies and events internationally over the years, even on World Youth Day stages in both Germany and Australia, he has never received such an honor.
Extending the invitation were the events’ organizers, the Hope-Initiative of the National Service for Youth Ministry, an organization that seeks to train the youth in the arts to deepen their faith and bring renewal in the European Church. Seeking an American representative, Curtis was asked to lead worship with a select group of International Christian Artists. He will be performing both his original music as well as various Christian pieces, including an anthem written specifically for the Papal meeting, “Holy Face of Faces”.
The special events planned on May 2, 2010 during the Exposition of the Shroud in Turin’s Cathedral are twofold. The first will be a Youth Rally, “HopenSpace”, created in an effort to unite the Italian youth with the International Christian Musical Artists. The second will be the greatly anticipated meeting between the youth and Pope Benedict XVI. Both functions will feature not only the Christian Artists, but also the Great Hope Choir, an over 270-member youth choral group assembled from across Italy for this monumental occasion.
Considering that over two million visitors are anticipated to visit the Cathedral in Turin to view the ancient relic in a six-week span, and that it likely will not be displayed again before 2020, the musician tries to weigh the tremendous proportions of this undertaking. “I can barely conceive that the rare honor of playing for the Holy Father, with the Holy Shroud as the backdrop, has been offered to me,” remarked Curtis Stephan. “To join with the Pope as he seeks to ‘contemplate this mysterious visage that speaks silently to the heart of men, inviting them to recognize the face of God’, what can be greater? I am abundantly blessed.”
Preparing music is something that occurs on a daily basis in his ministry; but preparing music for an international venue with the Vicar of Christ is extraordinary. But beyond the artistry and adventure, he is also making preparations for the interior journey. “Sacred encounters such as these take on a whole other dimension when viewed with the heart, not the mind. By allowing the eyes of the heart to gaze upon what His love endured for us is open it to experience the Risen Christ in a truly profound way.”