By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
Enthusiasm for the Vision 20/20 theme song “Renew Our Hearts” is catching on. Youths receiving the sacrament of confirmation and their families heard a symphonic presentation of the song March 10 at St. Mary of the Visitation Church in Iowa City. Students in second through 12th grades learned the refrain during the prelude for the Scott County Catholic Schools Mass at Assumption High School in Davenport on March 21.
“It is really good,” said Bishop Thomas Zinkula, who presided at both Masses. Vision 20/20: From Pentecost to Pentecost is an ongoing, diocesan initiative to build a vibrant church whose members celebrate the joy of the Gospel with others. The song aims to evoke joy.
“The intent from the beginning of this project was for this to be the ‘theme song’ for the Vision 20/20 initiative,” said Joe Mattingly, the song’s composer. “The goal is to make this available to all parishes in the diocese and to encourage them to learn and use it in order to create unity within the initiative.”
Mattingly is a professional composer who also serves as music director at the Newman Catholic Student Center on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. He composed the song as a gift to the diocese. “As this is my diocese and I feel very connected here, as well as thankful for the many opportunities I have been given, this is a way for me to give back.”
The diocesan Vision 20/20 prayer served as the source for the lyrics. Additional verses were added, at the request of the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee, so that the song could be used in a variety of liturgical settings. Assistance with Spanish translation of the refrain came from Father Joseph Sia, diocesan vocation director, and Miguel Moreno, diocesan coordinator of multicultural ministry. Father Joseph Phung, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison and St. Joseph Parish, Montrose, assisted with Vietnamese translation of the refrain. (Listen to the song at: https://tinyurl.com/y5as8yuv.)
“The text speaks of the people of God within our community, our diocese, and the world, coming together to renew their faith in both mind and heart,” Mattingly said. “As we renew our faith we have renewed clarity, and come to see more fully how we can reach out to the weak, the blind and the stranger in our midst. Essentially, our renewal calls us to live out the vision of Christ, to invoke his name, his spirit, and celebrate his love. This renewal can infuse us as individuals, within our families, parishes, communities, our diocese and world.”
While the basic verse/refrain structure of the song came together quite quickly, the song and arrangement are still evolving. Mattingly is tweaking the choir arrangement while working on a couple of brass/timpani versions. Next, he will work on various parts for woodwinds and strings. “I have created two different piano versions, one for basic pianists and another for more advanced players,” he said.
The song’s exuberant introduction during the confirmation liturgy at St. Mary’s featured choir, brass, organ and timpani. Mattingly praised the “expressive and excellent interpretation” of the song, directed by the parish’s music director, Nathan Gibbs.
Mattingly also shared his appreciation for the pastor, Father Steve Witt; Patti McTaggart, the parish’s coordinator of music, liturgy and confirmation; Gibbs and others “for allowing the creative space and freedom for the song to reach fruition.”
Introducing the song at that time made sense. “The presence of the bishop and our activity within Vision 20/20 was a big deal,” Fr. Witt said. “We’ve been working hard to build enthusiasm for the June Convocation of Vision 20/20.” The song’s placement during the offertory was also appropriate, Fr. Witt said, because it “talks about what we’re doing as disciples, giving of ourselves to be church.”
The song worked beautifully for celebration of the sacrament of confirmation, McTaggart said. “The lyrics are asking God to allow the Holy Spirit to open our minds and hearts more fully to the beauty of our Catholic faith and to renew our sometimes weary souls by reminding us of Jesus’ unending love for each of us, no matter who we are.”
Assumption High School Principal Bridget Murphy said the school’s choir director, Trevor Loes, chose to introduce the song as a prelude for the March 21 Scott County Catholic Schools Mass. “He and the Assumption Choir ran through and rehearsed the song with the students during the prelude time so they would be familiar with it when it begins to be sung during their parishes’ Masses.”
“Students, much like adults, are hungry for growth and renewal, and they responded well to the opportunity to engage with the song for the first time,” Murphy said. “It will be nice when they hear it in their parishes, as they will now be familiar with it and more able to participate with their respective congregations.”
Where to find ‘Renew Our Hearts’ song
“The vocal/guitar/piano versions are available on the diocesan website on the Vision 20/20 page (www. davenportdiocese.org). The materials on the diocesan website are free downloads available for use by all. The choral arrangement is available at a 50 percent discount ($1.50 per copy) by contacting Mattingly at (319) 331-8812 or nspinfo@newman singers.com. He hopes the instrumental parts package will be available for sale by April 1.