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Palestrina Choir perform at Pope’s Epiphany Mass (2013)

By editor - 06 January, 2013

Ireland’s Palestrina Choir sings at a mass for the Epiphany in Rome today celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.  During the mass, the Holy Father will ordain four new  archbishops, including his secretary Monsignor Georg Gänswein.

This is the first time the well known Irish choir, will sing at such a huge celebration in the presence of the pope.
“They are ecstatic, incredibly excited to be here, “Administrator of the Pro Cathedral parish, Fr Damian O’Reilly told CatholicIreland. “This is the first time for this group to come to Rome.  They have never sung at a celebration of this magnitude before.”

32 Boy Choristers and 12 Gentlemen from the ranks of the Palestrina Choir flew out to Rome on Thursday.  Since then they have been rehearsing and making the final selection of hymns and arrangements for the Eucharistic celebration.

Today they will sing alongside the prestigious Sistine Chapel Choir while also singing some repertoire on their own to showcase the best of Irish liturgical choral music.  Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will be present at the Mass, which will be televised live on the RTE player (www.rte.ie), on EWTN and streamed live on www.news.va at 8.30am this morning.

The Palestrina Choir, installed in the Pro-Cathedral in January 1903 is one of the best known choirs in the country. The choir sings every Sunday at 11a.m. Mass in St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin.

In 2009 the Girls’ Choir was established, and 30 girl choristers now sing the 17.45 Mass on Tuesdays during Choir term. The adult men choristers sing at the 17.45 Wednesday masses, and the boys at Vespers and Benediction on Friday’s at 17.15 and the mass immediately after at 17.45.

 In June, the choir sang at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the International Eucharistic Congress.

New Bishops

The men receiving Episcopal ordination today at the Vatican are Monsignor Angelo Vincenzo Zani, Monsignor Nicolas Thévenin, papal nuncio to Nicaragua, Monsignor Fortunatus Nwachukwu and  papal secretary Monsignor Georg Gänswein.

The 58 year old German archbishop elect has been the personal secretary of Pope Benedict XVI since 2005, and was recently appointed Prefect of the Papal Household.  It was the pope, the then Cardinal Ratzinger who   invited Fr Gänswein to join the Congregation  of the Doctrine of the Faith, when he himself was its head.

Afterwards Fr Gänswein became professor of canon law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. In 2003, he replaced Josef Clemens as Cardinal Ratzinger’s personal secretary.  When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005 Fr Gänswein was appointed to the office of Principal Private Secretary to His Holiness.

In his private life, Monsignor Gänswein is said to enjoy playing tennis, skiing, and flying airplanes. In an interview in July 2006 with Owen Richard from the Times, he described the Pope’s typical day: “The Pope’s day begins with Mass at 7am, followed by morning prayer and a period of contemplation. Afterwards we eat breakfast together, and my day then begins with sorting through the correspondence, which arrives in considerable quantity.” He said that he accompanied Benedic to morning audiences, followed by lunch together, a “short walk,” and a rest, after which he “[presents] to the Pope documents which require his signature, or his study and approval.”

Now that he is Prefect of the Papal Household, he will not only carry on his day to day activites at the Pope’s side, but will also run the Apostolic Palace and supervise the planning of papal visits in Rome and throughout Italy.

by Susan Gately