Brian T. Olszewski, The Catholic Virginian

In preparation for its bicentennial in 2020, the Diocese of Richmond is sponsoring two competitions — one for the composition of a liturgical hymn or song, the other for the design of a logo that will brand the observance.

According to materials provided by the Diocesan Bicentennial Planning Task Force, the hymn and logo “should succinctly capture and express the bicentennial motto: ‘Shine like the stars in the world, as you hold fast to the word of life.’” The motto is from Philippians 2:15-16.

In a letter to the faithful dated Sept. 27, 2018, Bishop Barry C. Knestout explained why he selected that passage as the motto.

“(It) illuminates the two vital forces at work in each local Church: communion and mission. Communion refers to the bonds of fellowship that unite members of the Church to God and to one another,” the bishop wrote. “Mission designates the purpose of the Church, which is to proclaim the Good News of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ to all people. Communion keeps the Church intact; mission enables the Church to grow.”

Among the technical specifications and guidelines for the hymn provided by the task force are that “an effective entry will provide a singable, short-form hymn or song that could be used for the Entrance Procession or Recessional.”

“(The) submission may be in the form of a through-composed hymn or a song with refrain and verses. Hymns or songs which include bilingual or multi-lingual aspects, e.g., Spanish, will be given serious consideration,” the guidelines read.

The guidelines also recommend that the composition “should be a unison setting that can be sung by a cantor and assembly with keyboard accompaniment.” Since the piece will be used in diocesan liturgies “with a range of instrumentation, instrument parts and choral harmony should also be included.”

The author/composer of the winning entry may choose to accept $1,000 in prize money and assign the copyright to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond or to decline the prize money and retain the copyright.

The deadline for submitting an entry is Friday, May 31, 2019.

Within the packet for designers are an explanation of the motto, the bicentennial prayer, a brief history of the diocese exposition of the diocese’s coat of arms, a listing of saints of particular importance to the diocese, as well as technical specifications for the logo and its submission.

“There is no requirement for artists to incorporate the diocesan coat of arms or images of the saints in the logo design, although this could be done,” according to the creative brief in the packet. “These items are intended as sources of inspiration. Likewise, the logo should appear without motto, although it may eventually be used in conjunction with it.”

The winning logo, according to the task force, will be “emblazoned on communications and products of the Diocese of Richmond in celebration of a monumental anniversary.” 

The designer of the winning logo will receive $750. Deadline for submitting logo designs is Tuesday, April 30, 2019. 

A packet detailing submission information is available at https://richmonddiocese.org/bicentennial/ or by calling Michael School, project manager for the Bicentennial Planning Task Force, at 804-622-5115.