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Magnificat Scholarship Program

Magnificat Institute Cultivates Understanding Through Music

For the past ten years FFHL has been providing musical scholarships to our young Christians attending the Magnificat Institute, a humanitarian arm of the Franciscan Custody.

Needless to say, music is the art that unites, brings us together, overcomes differences, and challenges standard ways of thinking, even those most common in the Holy Land. The Magnificat Institute of Jerusalem was founded in 1995, thanks to the work of musician and composer, Fr. Armando Pierucci. Currently, the Magnificat Institute in the Holy City of Jerusalem counts among its ranks 200 Muslim, Christian, and Jewish students, mainly children, who are studying various disciplines. The musical activities outside of school provide great opportunities and hope for the children throughout the Holy Land and for their families. The Institute has over 20 teachers and three choirs, who also fulfill the liturgical requirements of the Custody of the Holy Land for the most important celebrations and it is currently housed in the complex of St. Saviour in Jerusalem. The school also has to its credit publications, recordings of musical CDs, foreign tours, concerts and the organization of competitions.

The main objective of the project Music and Life in Jerusalem is to sustain the activities of the Magnificat Institute in Jerusalem whose primary goal is to foster encounter, dialogue, peaceful coexistence, and human and social development amongst people and children of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds in the Holy Land. Learning music in Jerusalem provides a very worthwhile alternative to an otherwise difficult living situations in many families.

Last November, the best students of the Magnificat, performed in the auditorium of the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, which for several years now has organized a prestigious season of concerts.

In a marvelous setting on the Mount of Olives, the public was listening to a wonderful performance and without showing the slightest stage fright, fifteen students of the Magnificat, aged 9 - 14 performed classical pieces for piano, flute, violin and cello by composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Telemann, Poulenc and others. Applause from the audience confirmed the successful performance and an additional performance was given by the “Yasmeen” girls’ choir made up of teenagers and conducted by Hania Sabbara, the head teacher of the school.

The Magnificat Institute was founded in 1995 by Father Armando Pierucci, the organist of the Holy Sepulchre and Conservatoire teacher who is still its Director. The reputation of the Magnificat is continually growing thanks to the great professionalism of the teachers and the new possibilities that have opened up to the school to award academic diplomas which are also recognized in the European Union following the agreement made with the “Pedrollo” Conservatoire of Vicenza, which guarantees and supervises the standards of quality to be observed.

The characteristic of the school of music run by the Custody of the Holy Land, however, is also that of effectively being a laboratory for peace and sharing, with teachers and pupils who are Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims and Christians, all united by music to build up a new Jerusalem of peace. This is why the Custody of the Holy Land considers the Magnificat a very important activity in its mission.

The Magnificat Institute in the Holy City of Jerusalem has as its goal the promoting of knowledge about music with particular attention to the cultural heritage of various local communities in the Holy Land. The target goals at the heart of the Magnificat Institute of Jerusalem are as follows:

  • Prepare teachers capable of teaching and transmitting love for music in schools in the Holy Land.
  • Sing and play in the shrines and parishes of the Holy Land, in particular the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, the Holy City.
  • Create opportunities, both choral and instrumental, to break down the cultural, religious and linguistic barriers and promote peaceful and friendly relationships in the Holy Land between children of different backgrounds, and in particular in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Given the critical social context in which the Magnificat Institute of Jerusalem finds itself, only some of the students are able to pay the tuition to attend the Institute and that is the reason for outside support for the musical scholarships.

“I trust that the harmony of music, which knows no social and religious barriers, is a constant invitation to all people of good will to seek together the universal language of love that makes them capable of building a world of justice and solidarity, of hope and peace.” Pope Benedict XVI



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