Sydney composer creates Notre Dame Mass as "labour of love"

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 1-6-2010

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



Musician-composer, Dr Richard Connolly describes creating the music for the Notre Dame Mass as a "labour of love".

Commissioned by Deputy Chancellor Mr Terry Tobin QC, the Notre Dame Mass was sung for the first time recently at St Benedict's Church on the Broadway Campus to commemorate the 20th year of the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities - ‘Ex Corde Ecclesiae’.

The Mass, celebrated by the Archbishop of Sydney, His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, was sung by members of the St Mary's Cathedral Choir together with the congregation under the direction of Thomas Wilson, the Cathedral's Director of Music.

During Mass four of the University's theologians made their Profession of Faith and took the Oath of Fidelity before the Cardinal.

Dr Connolly, who received an honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University in 2009 for his 'extraordinary contribution to Australian liturgical music', joined staff and students for the special occasion.

Well known for composing music for the ABC, including the Play School theme song, ‘There’s a bear in there’, Dr Connolly has written many influential Catholic hymns, including ‘In Faith and Hope and Love’ and ‘By your Kingly Power, O Risen Lord’.

When it came to composing the Notre Dame Mass, Dr Connolly set music to part of the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

“My overriding hope for the Mass was to have a range, 'sing-ability' and treatment of the text that would enable congregation and choir to join in, singing to the Lord with one voice.

“To facilitate this, I have created two versions. There is a simple one for Cantors and Assembly and another version for a four-part choir and Assembly to use at solemn and festive occasions,” explained Dr Connolly.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Hayden Ramsay, said the University was delighted to have a Mass composed for Notre Dame by such a talented and prolific composer.

“Dr Connolly’s work has made an extremely influential contribution to Australian Catholic music. It’s a true blessing to have this Mass composed for us and to have been able to celebrate its debut in such a joyous way.”

Media contact:

Moira Saunders
02 8204 4407