This year’s programme for the Dundee and Perth Catenian Association opened with entertainment by Marcin Pokusa, a music teacher from Poland whose music has been performed for Popes and presidents, and whose religious compositions have been danced to by over a million young people at the World Youth Day in Krakow.
Marcin performed and sang as his story was unfolded by his sister-in-law, Dorota Marcinec, a Perth and Kinross Council Community Link Worker.
Dorota said, “Marcin has a strong love for the traditional music of his beloved highland Poland, amidst the Tatra Mountains, but has also studied opera and performed with the Silesian and Krakow Opera. He is a graduate of the Academies of Music in Katowice and Poznań and now a teacher at the State Music School in Mielec, Poland. As a teacher, performer and composer he inspires a new generation of church musicians and has much to share.”
“Most influencial in his life was an encounter with Dominican priest, Fr Jan Gora, whose work with young people saw the setting up of a Retreat Centre a chaplaincy centre on the Jamna Mountain, near Tarnów, and a Youth Festival at Lednica that now attracts around 80,000 pilgrims annually. In Fr Jan’s work with the youth, he liaised closely with a young Fr Karol Wojtyla, who later became to become Pope John Paul II.”
“When Pope John Paul II visited Poland, he flew over the Jamna and Lednica to give his blessing to the work being done there. Marcin and Fr Jan visited the Polish Pope many times in Rome and following the Pope’s death in 2005, Marcin wrote a litany which was performed it on Polish TV during the funeral broadcast. He was also invited to perform at his canonisation (2014). He composed a welcome song for the official music trailer announcing Pope Benedict’s first visit to Poland. Marcin’s modern composition for the Divine Mercy prayer is gaining great popularity.”
Appropriately, it was Sheriff Kevin Veal, himself a noted church musician, and President of the Scottish Association of Organists, who was called upon to give the vote of thanks.
The local Circle of the Catenian Association have a series of after dinner speakers and entertainment planned for the year ahead. Beginning in June with talks by Mary O’Duffin on the ‘New Evangelisation’; October, the Verdant Works, by John Quinn; and March 2019 the City of Aleppo, by Zabieh Shihada Alsamaan, a Syrian Christian, with family still living in the war-torn city. On a lighter note, members are looking ahead to Burns Suppers, Christmas Dinners and Quiz and Games Nights.