Thursday, August 11, 2011

ACN News - Musical for World Youth Day

The musical Pelican – Into Thy Hands is to be performed once again at the World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid.

The performance will be presented by a group of young Polish actors between 15 and 19 August at the Teatro Bellas Artes in Madrid. A total of nine performances are planned.

This musical, about the martyrs of the 20th century, was first performed at the World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany in 2005. Other performances followed in the Netherlands, Poland, Lithuania and Rome.

The present stage performance, presented by the internationally renowned Polish choreographer Henryk Konwinski, is based on a concept devised by Father Joaquin Alliende, President of international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Set to contemporary music and incorporating dynamic dance scenes and choreography, Konwinski’s setting presents the lives of a handful of people who were willing to die for their faith in God.

Among the lives the young performers of the Polish performance group “Theater A” from the town of Gliwice, not far from Kraków, will present is that of the young German seminarian Karl Leisner, who was ordained to the priesthood in 1944 while a prisoner in Dachau concentration camp. He died just a few months later, as a result of the inhuman conditions of his imprisonment.

Also presented will be the life of the young Italian doctor Gianna Beretta Molla, who gave her life in order to bring her baby daughter into the world.

Other scenes portray moments from the life of the Spanish chemist Francisco Castello, who was murdered during the Spanish Civil War, and of the Polish priest Jerzy Popieluszko, who was murdered by the Communist secret police.

The lives of the murdered Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of San Salvador and the fate of a group of seminarians in Buta, Burundi, who were likewise murdered, will also be featured.

The musical interweaves historical photographs and film footage with the choreography.

The title of the musical refers to the ancient legend of the pelican, who pecks her own breast in order to feed her chicks with her blood, saving them from a certain death. Christian symbolism took this to represent Jesus Christ, who shed his own blood for the salvation of the world.

More details about this performance are available at

With poster image and scene from the musical.

Editor’s Notes:

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.


Joe said...

I saw this in Cologne in 2005, and found it very moving. If I were in Madrid, I would go to see it again.

Esther G. said...

Joe, it sounds like something that is worthwhile seeing. Mahalo.