Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 23, 2005
Song for Karol spreads his word
Musician Mark Mallett crafted this ballad as a tribute to John Paul II
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
"How the world needs the way you showed us
Our hearts, now see in the darkness, a light to follow, in your life."
Mark Mallett never met Pope John Paul II, but he came within 10 feet of the late pontiff who rode by in his motorcade during World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto.
The brief moment was enough of a flicker to ignite in the Catholic recording artist a profound love so when John Paul died April 2, the beginnings of a song came to him immediately.
"I was greatly saddened during the whole week leading up to his passing. It was watching a loved one die," said Mallett, a singer and songwriter living in Vegreville. Mallett lives with his wife Lea and their six children, with a seventh on the way. "We do not have a television, but I followed everything on the Internet."
Hearing the pope had died, Mallett drove to Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Vegreville and knelt at the tabernacle and prayed. Mallett cried and mourned for the pope. Driving home, a melody popped into his head.
Mallett said he had no intention of writing a song because he thought everyone would write a tribute to him. Mallett was thinking more about honouring John Paul by spreading the pope's teachings.
"I kept driving and words began to come," Mallett said.
"That evening there was a prayer service at the church. I brought my guitar and sat on the floor. I did not realize it at the time, but I was sitting directly between a statue of Mary and the tabernacle.
"Looking back, it seems very fitting because Mary and the Eucharist are two pillars the pope chained the Church to. The rest of the song came that evening."
Titled Song for Karol, the three-minute duet with Juno-nominee Raylene Scarrott is an epic ballad. Others have called it inspiring, touching and moving.
Mallett says most of the songs he creates come quickly. He might tweak the odd line or two, but the bulk of the work flows to him at once.
"I always wanted to meet Pope John Paul because I have a great love for him. We are in a secular storm and he was a lighthouse guiding many of us through outright heresy," Mallett said.
"In Pope Benedict, I was instantly filled with incredible joy. For three days following his announcement as the new pope, I had peace and a sense we were not abandoned, having been given another shepherd who will protect the faith and lead us by speaking the truth."
Mallett tried to capture and portray John Paul's light in the darkness; that to believe in the truth he spoke is to live in freedom.
"People I have played the song for are visibly moved," Mallett said. "I think the pope's life spoke to the core of all of us because he was really speaking the Gospel. He was repeating the voice of Jesus to us, the promise that Jesus would remain with us until the end of time. John Paul reminded us that Jesus is the great shepherd. And that is what the world needs."
For more information about Song for Karol, go to www.markmallett.com.
John Paul reminded us that Jesus is the great shepherd.
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