The New Vision

Music that works to uniting voices in the Year of Mercy
Misa de la Misericordia uses two languages to bring people together in worship

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Bishop Kicanas and Carlos Zapién holding a framed version of his Misa de la Misericordia.

Bishop Kicanas and Carlos Zapién holding a framed version of his Misa de la Misericordia.

The New Vision
Music is an essential element of the celebration of the Mass and sacraments of the Catholic Church. During this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis called people to be merciful and forgiving through actions, prayers and personal convictions.
Inspired by Pope Francis’ call for Catholics to show mercy to others, Carlos Zapién, director of Music for St. Augustine Cathedral and the Diocese of Tucson, composed and recorded the Mass of Mercy for the Year of Mercy.
Using the languages of our border, the parts of the Mass are sung in both English and Spanish.  “The purpose of this Mass”, said Zapién, “is to create a melody that unites our Spanish speaking and English speaking communities as we gather for prayer together. Its melody is accessible to congregation singing and offers a tune easy to learn and remember.”
He added that the Misa de la Misericordia can be sung in English only, Spanish only or in a bilingual setting, making it attractive to all of the parishes in the Diocese and beyond. Zapién has received positive response to the musical setting of the parts of the Mass from communities in Latin America and across the United States.
“According to the wishes of Pope Francis who always wants to unify countries and borders … this Mass, I think will do that,” Zapién said.
The Mass has been used at diocesan celebrations of the Chrism Mass and priest ordinations. It is used in most of the Masses at the Cathedral and will be used at the Mass being concelebrated at the International Border in Nogales by the new Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who had been Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico before being named by Pope Francis to work in the United States; by Bishop José Leopoldo González González, bishop of Nogales; and by Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas. That Border Mass takes place Oct. 23.
Zapién, 37, has been playing piano and organ and singing since his childhood in Ciudad Obregon. He attended the University of Oregon and received bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in music. He went on to attend the Musikhochschule Stuttgart where he obtained the title of soloist and sung in the Stuttgart Opera until about 2012.  He left Europe at the request of Bishop Kicanas, who had heard about Zapién from another musician, and who asked Zapién to reinvigorate the performance of Sacred Music at the Cathedral.
He has composed many pieces including the Mass of the Holy Trinity and the Misa al Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, and shorter works.
Compact discs with music from the Mass are available for sale for $10 at the St. Augustine Cathedral office.  For information about the Mass contact Carlos Zapién at

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