BY SCO Admin | February 28 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


‘Lentfest: Deepening our Faith through the gift of the arts’

Glasgow is getting ready for its eighth Archdiocesan arts festival in style, IAN DUNN discovers ahead of the Shrove Tuesday launch concert for this year. Attractions include many events coming to parishes

This Shrove Tuesday will see the eighth Glasgow Archdiocesan Lentfest arts festival kick off with a launch concert as the annual event goes from strength to strength.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow has called on Catholics to support the festival saying ‘as the season of Lent calls us to a sober and reflective assessment of our lives, at the same time the principal arts festival of the archdiocese gets underway.’

“That apparent contradiction is explained away by casting an eye over the many elements of this year’s programme,” Archbishop Tartaglia explained. “For they are, in truth, aids to living Lent well: The Stations of the Cross rediscovered; the great drama of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection interpreted through the new prism of music and visual art; a revisiting of the theme of redemption through drama and an opportunity to deepen our appreciation of the pontificates of two great Popes soon to be Canonised (John XXIII and John Paul II) through film. Lentfest is about deepening our Faith through the gift of the arts.”

The archbishop also said he felt that ‘just a few months ago Pope Francis summed up our hopes for this year’s Lentfest very well when he said: “In every age the Church has called upon the arts to give expression to the beauty of her faith and to proclaim the Gospel message of the grandeur of God’s creation, the dignity of human beings made in his image and likeness, and the power of Christ’s death and resurrection to bring redemption and rebirth to a world touched by the tragedy of sin and death.”’

Festival organiser Stephen Callaghan said that he really hoped people would connect the Archdiocese of Glasgow Arts Project (AGAP) festival to ‘their Lenten journey.’

“What may seem trivialising to begin with actually turns out to be the opposite because I think it can draw people into Lent who wouldn’t give it as much though,” the AGAP creative director said. “I think Lent is especially important, because it is a liturgical season of the Church, that unlike Christmas and Easter hasn’t been overtaken by commercialisation.”

Mr Callaghan said that, while Lentfest keeps growing, it ‘breaks my heart when people don’t come to the events because I honestly think they do get an awful lot out of it.’

He also said that, unlike previous years, there was ‘no obvious theme’ to the 2014 festival but there would be events to mark the Cannonisations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.

“The blessed John Paul II is where it all began for me as we put out his plays at Turnbull hall eleven years ago,” he said. “So this year we are having an evening at Turnbull hall with excerpts of his plays as well as showing films about both popes.”

The evening of excerpts, called An evening with Karol, will be held at Turnbull Hall on Saturday March 22 and St Peter’s Patrick on Sunday March 23, both at 7pm. The films about John XXIII and John Paul II will be shown in the Eyre Hall on March 6 and 9 respectively.

Another highlight of the festival will be a mini piano festival at St Andrew’s Cathedral that is sponsored by McClaren’s pianos. On Thursday, April 10 Matthew Schellhorn, one of Britain’s leading pianists will perform a piano recital of the Stations of the Cross by Irish composer, Ian Wilson. The next night at the cathedral you will find Sounds of Hope and Inspiration a programme of Sacred and Spiritual music performed by Russian soprano, Oksana Mavrodii, violinist, Hector Scott, and Ukrainian concert pianist, Anna Mavromatidi.

Mr Callaghan said this is something new for Lentfest but ‘represented a tremendous bargain.’

“These are people who you would pay far more to see at the concert hall,” he said. “Yet you can catch them here for a tenner. I think their presence is a testament to the rising profile of the festival.”

Lentfest also remains a community- and parish-based festival. This Lent there will be many chances to catch unique performances at parishes around the archdiocese.

Passionate Voices was the first touring play put on by AGAP and is being revived this year with a new cast. Audiences can catch it St Helen’s Langside at March 28, St Gregory’s Wyndford at March 29, St Margaret Mary’s Castlemilk on March 30, Our Lady and St George Penilee April 2, St Mungo’s Townhead, April 4, St Martin’s Renton, April 6 and St Margaret’s Clydebank, April 7, all at 7.30pm.

The Popular Lentfest folk sessions also return and can be found at St Helen’s Langside on Sunday March 15 at 7.30pm and St Peter’s, Partick, Thursday March 27 also at 7.30pm.

Scotland’s beloved tenor and classical guitarist Martin Aelred (above) also returns for a special one-off concert at St Joseph’s Milngavie where he will be performing music from the motion picture The Mission and other inspirational music from the movies. That will take place at 7.30pm on March 14.

St Matthew’s Bishopbriggs will be hosting a dramatised version of the Stations of the Cross performed by the pupils of Turnbull High School on April 1 at 7.30pm.


—Full listings of all events are available on the AGAP website where festival goers can also order tickets at






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