Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

More on the Concert

The concert was great.  Here are some random, unorganized recollections and reflections.

U2 did a good mix of old and new.  That is very much their style: classic because unchanging on some substratum, but yet always keeping up with the times, and never mindlessly following them.

I would have liked to hear "Angel of Harlem" but am happy to exchange that experience for what I did get: Bono sang a medley in honor of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a hero of mine, that started off with the first verse of "Amazing Grace," sang reverently and beautifully.  The whole audience joined in.  So much for America not being a Christian nation.  The medley transitioned into "Beautiful Day," causing the audience to explode and join in.  He sang other songs in tribute to the following people, perhaps among others I missed, and in no particular order:

  • Bishop Desmond Tutu;
  • President George W. Bush (no joke - in gratitude for Pres. Bush's previously unsung but heroic efforts against malaria in Africa - people were stunned into silence by this tribute, but they loved the song, so it was OK); and
  • Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma.
Bono was not explicit with his own Christian faith, not in the sense of preaching at the audience - it wasn't a revival and faith witness - but he was really unabashed about it his Christian beliefs and spiritual anchoring.  That was cool.  Cardinal McCarrick was in attendance and got one of the first shout-outs.  Rumor has it that Bono and the Cardinal are fans of each other and have met on a number of occasions.  The late Holy Father John Paul II also had such a relationship, more visible, with the Rock Star.  That relationship went so far as to include gift exchanging, as if Bono were a head of state.

Last night at the concert, when Bono introduced the band, he gave each of the band members titles: Secretary of Defense, etc., making Larry Mullens, Jr. into the leader of the opposition party, for example, and announcing himself as majority leader of the Nation-State of U2.  He ended his introductions by speaking a bit about how much he likes Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, having visited the region a number of times aside from his concert tours.  Naturally, the crowds enjoyed these compliments.  He also praised America, and thanks Americans for "the idea of America."  That's very Chestertonian of him.  G. K. Chesterton wrote in What I Saw in America something to the extent that "whereas other countries are bloodlines, America is an idea," the idea of democracy and plurality in harmony - what Holy Father Benedict has called America's healthy secular ideal - in opposition to the atheistic secularism in Europe, and gaining ground even here under the cover of the older kind of civic life that called itself secular once.

They sang all the staples in their canon, some that you might not expect, like "Vertigo", some of the stuff from All That You Can't Leave Behind ("Beautiful Day" was for Eunice; thinking of her makes me choke up sometimes; God rest her well), and a couple songs from their new album.  I especially enjoyed hearing "Moment of Surrender" played.

The graphic and special effects were out of this world.  Just amazing.

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