The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

Unlocking St Matthew’s Gospel with Voices from the Diocese of Leeds

The latest in a series of our ‘Stay Safe’ resources produced to celebrate the Year of the Word is now available online is St Matthew’s Gospel Unlocked : a recording of the entire Gospel of St Matthew using readers of all ages, backgrounds and accents from parishes, schools and institutions throughout the Diocese of Leeds.

A response to the COVID-19 Lock-down (hence the title ‘Unlocked’), the project has involved more than 150 people who have contributed by recording passages at home using mobile ‘phones, tablets and computers.  Separate recordings have been edited together to form a series of 11 podcasts of roughly equal length.  Also included is a video in which a member of the Hard of Hearing Community communicates a passage using sign language.

Previewing the project, Sacred Heart Ilkley parishioner Eileen Fitzpatrick said, ‘the wide participation and mix of voices allows us to journey through the wonderful language and narrative of Jesus. It brings out for me the sheer power and energy of Matthew’s Gospel – from the imagery of the teeming parables to Jesus denouncing the Scribes and Pharisees.  Eileen added, the different accents, some international and others from the various parts of Yorkshire are a joy to listen to. I must say I had fun spotting ‘Leeds’, ‘Bradford’, ‘Wakefield’ and indeed ‘Huddesfield’! – and a lovely mild “Scouse”.’

Richard Atkinson who belongs to Parish of St Peter & St Paul in Wakefield commented, ‘I love how it’s broken down and other sounds are inserted between readings. It sounds very much like a very good audio book and the different voices really do work.’

Another Wakefield resident, Nafula Misiko, from the Parish of St Austin’s and English Martyrs said, ‘My daughter is so excited. Listening to the readings made the Gospel feel so universal.’  Echoing these sentiments, Amanda Bryson whose son Ben features in the project added, ‘The resource will be of tremendous value for schools like Ben’s, All Saints Catholic College in Huddersfield.’

Year of the Word promoter Deacon Henry Longbottom who helped coordinate and edit the Matthew Unlocked project said, ‘I have been overwhelmed with the generosity and enthusiasm of our people who have taken up the challenge to make the recordings so quickly. The result is not a group of professional actors reciting their lines but something more natural which is really personal to our context.’

St Matthew’s Gospel Unlocked can be accessed here