Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
14 Oct 2011
The St Mary's Cathedral Choir, in Rome for the official opening of Domus Australia, had the privilege of singing for Pope Benedict XV1 at this week's audience in St Peter's Square.
The Cathedral's Music Director, Thomas Wilson and the choir's line-up of 23 boys and 12 men were positioned at the foot of the main stairs leading up to St Peter's Basilica. They sang for 30 minutes prior to the arrival of the Holy Father before being introduced during the Papal audience and singing once more for a short time.
It was a magnificent sunny autumn day in Rome and the square was packed with tourists and pilgrims from around the world.
For the boys, many of whom have never travelled outside of Australia, it was extremely exciting.
"I was a little nervous at first but I think we were pretty good," one of the boys commented later.
Immediately after the audience, the boys headed off to Domus Australia, the pilgrim centre, a home away from home for Australian pilgrims, which will be officially opened by the Holy Father next Wednesday, 19 October.
At Domus Australia, they lunched with Cardinal George Pell and full of enthusiasm, told him about the unforgettable experience of singing in St Peter's Square for the Holy Father at this week's Audience.
St Mary's Cathedral Choir will also sing before Pope Benedict XVI when he visits the pilgrim centre's beautifully-restored St Peter Chanel chapel.
On this historic day, Pope Benedict XVI will welcome the many guests from Australia and Rome who will be attending. He will then bless and officially open the centre.
Following the blessing inside the chapel, the Holy Father will be escorted into the outdoor courtyard area where he will view some of the magnificent artworks before meeting some of the visitors to the pilgrim centre as well as those who have been associated with the meticulous two-year restoration of the building.
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell said it was an honour to have Pope Benedict XVI accept the invitation to open the centre.
"Australian Catholics have demonstrated loyalty and affection for the Pope, the successor of St Peter, from the earliest days. This remains undiminished. Domus Australia will be a religious and culture centre, a home away from home, where everyone will be welcome."
Cardinal Pell was also delighted to have St Mary's Cathedral Choir in Rome for this special occasion.
"The choir at the official opening will certainly do us proud," he said. "The Holy Father is a great lover of classical music and our choir is in beautiful voice."
The official opening of Domus Australia will be webcast live on xt3.com/Domus.