A Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) with 30 schools across the North East premiered its own Catholic Mass Setting on Friday 10 November. Gaudete, which means rejoice, was unveiled for the first time at the Catholic Leaders and Clergy Conference at Newcastle Cathedral.

The Mass Setting is the culmination of more than a year’s work with acclaimed composer Will Todd and Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust (BCCET), which has 25 primary schools and five secondaries across East Durham, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Pupils from the Trust’s five secondary schools, St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, Sunderland, St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy, Sunderland, St Bede’s Catholic School & Byron Sixth Form College, Peterlee, St Joseph’s Catholic Academy, Hebburn, and St Wilfrid’s RC College, South Shields, sang in the choir at this event.

BCCET Lead Chaplain Liz Boylan said: “Over the past year, we have been on a fantastic journey working with our schools and local communities writing a Mass Setting, inspired by them, that can be used by both our schools and our parishes. The Celebration of Mass is the summit and source of our faith. We wanted to create a Mass Setting that our pupils and our communities had the opportunity to contribute to so that it was both inclusive and familiar. We worked with acclaimed composer Will Todd and have the approval of the National Liturgy Office. All our schools and parishes will be given free access to the finished musical score to use any versions or parts they wish in their Mass Setting. Versions will be available via our website.

Composer Will Todd, who has worked with pupils from across the Trust’s schools and wrote the music for the Gaudete Mass, said: “It’s been an amazing project to be part of. I started off with listening to lots of ideas that a lot of the children had, inspired by religious texts, artwork, poems, bits of music, stained glass that they designed, which was incredibly inspiring. Then I did a series of five workshops in the five secondary schools in the Trust and we wrote music together. Every school created a completely different piece of music which was another layer of inspiration for me. I was particularly pleased that one of the pieces of music that we created in a session at the schools ended up being used in the final Mass Setting.

Finally, I listened to a lot of songs that the children said made them rejoice, because Gaudete means rejoice. I had playlists from primary schools right up to secondary schools. It was very upbeat and very positive music and that’s what I tried to do with the Gaudete. Hopefully, people will sing it for a long time.

Excerpts of the Gaudete Mass will also be shared in the Trust’s forthcoming event JOY in my Heart at Rainton Arena, Houghton-le-Spring on Thursday 23 November, from 7.00pm to 8.30pm. For more details, visit www.bccet.org.uk/joy-in-my-heart

Versions of the Gaudete Mass Setting will be available to download after the official launch via the website at www.bccet.org.uk.

Press release issued by SASS media on behalf of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust. For more information, contact Sarah Dale on 07814 976582.