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Pope Addresses Montgomery County Catholic School Students Invited to Sing at the Vatican | News

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Pope Addresses Montgomery County Catholic School Students Invited to Sing at the Vatican
News, Schools
Pope Addresses Montgomery County Catholic School Students Invited to Sing at the Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI blessed Catholic school students from around the world, who are in Rome as participants of the International Federation of "Pueri Cantores." Among them were nine students from St. Jane Frances de Chantal School in Bethesda, seated in the third row.

The Pope addressed the group in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Polish and Ukrainian. "As you use your talents and your faith to sing God's praises, you give voice to the natural desire of every human being to glorify Him, with songs of love," he said. "Yet beautiful music is able to express something of the mystery of God's love for us and ours for Him, as we are reminded by the theme chosen for your Congress: Deus caritas est (God is Love)."

The Pope went on to say, "Always remember that your singing is a service. Firstly, it is a service to God, a way of giving Him the praise that is due. It is also a service to your fellow worshippers, helping them to raise their hearts and minds to the Lord in prayer. And it is a service to the whole Church, offering a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy that is the goal of all true worship, when the choirs of angels and saints unite in one unending song of love and praise."

The Pueri Cantores choral group is the student choral organization of the Catholic Church.  The St. Jane Frances de Chantal School students joined 400 other students from the United States and 4,000 students from around the world for an international congress.  On January 1, the Pueri Cantores International Congress will sing at a Papal Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica.

The St. Jane Frances de Chantal School students are Nathalie Jabbour (8, grade 3), Kate McLoughlin (9, grade 4), Maria Gomez-Bustillo (13, grade 8), Sophie Ryan (9, grade 4), Teddy Sullivan (14, grade 8), Maggie Maynard (9, grade 4), Mollie Maynard (8, grade 3), Brooke Lennon (8, grade 3) and Andrew Lennon (9, grade 4).  Today, the congress sang five songs for the Pope, who then gave them an apostolic blessing.

After meeting with the Pope, St. Jane Frances de Chantal School Principal Betsy Hamilton emailed to say the event has been “amazing.” She said the Pope stopped near the row of her students to bless a baby, and that the sound of the children singing today was magical. “The room was filled with energy as the thousands of children sang. This has been an amazing experience. The children are the center and they have brought everyone together with their beautiful gift of music.”

Hamilton said the students have been practicing for the performance every Friday since the beginning of the school year. They left for Rome on December 26.

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