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Church choirs in West Toledo and Perrysburg are moving ahead with a planned trip to the Vatican this Christmas season to perform for Pope Francis.
On Christmas evening, the singers from Most Blessed Sacrament and St. Rose parishes will depart for Rome on a nine-day choir pilgrimage. On New Year’s Day in St. Peter’s Basilica, they’re scheduled to join in a Papal Mass with the Sistine Chapel Choir. New Year’s Day is a holy day of obligation on the Catholic calendar, known as the Solemnity of Mary, honoring her motherhood of Christ.
On Dec. 30, they are to sing during Mass in the basilica, and on New Year’s Eve the Toledo and Perrysburg choirs are slated to perform for Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at the blessing of the Vatican creche.
Both choirs are raising funds to help with the tour’s cost. On Sunday, Most Blessed Sacrament held a fund-raiser, called A Taste of Tuscany, at Manhattan’s restaurant near downtown. The fare included an Italian dinner buffet, singing, and auctions of a sailing trip, glass and pottery art, and other prizes.
PHOTO GALLERY: Church choirs going to Vatican
“We’ve raised over $16,000 so far,” said Robyn Hage, a Most Blessed Sacrament choir member, adding that the Manhattan’s fund-raiser was the last “big one” before the trip.
Charlotte Mariasy, the director of liturgy and music at St. Rose, took a preview trip to Italy in February, visiting Rome and Assisi, but not Florence, which is part of the choir trip. She said the St. Rose contingent would consist of 87 people, including 40 choir members.
The combined papal concert would last about 45 minutes and include American music by composers such as Paul Manz along with folk melodies and spirituals, Ms. Mariasy said.
“We’re going to be doing quite a bit of Christmas music too, but our focus will be on American composers. After all, we are American choirs,” she said.
Ms. Hage said the choir members were getting excited. “Pope Francis is very well liked in Catholic circles,” she said.
Contact Carl Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6095.