Youth from around the world will participate in the 40th International Congress of Pueri Cantores, the official student choral organization of the Catholic Church, to be hosted in Rome and Vatican City, from Dec. 26-Jan. 2.
Among those participating will be Karen Mercer, director, Angelic Choir, Guardian Angels Regional School, Paulsboro. Eleven singers, including current students of Guardian Angels and some alumni, are making the trip.
They will join more than 5,000 singers, with over 1,000 from the U.S., including boys and girls from 4th through 12th grade.
The Congress, held every five years, will be a choral extravaganza. The choirs will sing at several locations, including an opening ceremony in St. Peter’s at the Sala Nervi (Paul VI Hall) on Dec. 28. The choirs also are expected to sing for Pope Francis.
The choirs will sing at a National Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome on Dec. 29 and will participate in a Carols from Around the World Christmas celebration on Dec. 31. Choirs will sing carols expressive of the music of their countries.
The International Congress will conclude its pilgrimage with the World Peace Day Papal Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Several thousand youth will sing in the liturgy celebrated by Pope Francis on Jan. 1.
According to Jan Schmidt, executive director of the American Federation of Pueri Cantores, which is based in Southern California, “Catholic youth choirs from around the world will be celebrating a once in a lifetime opportunity to sing in prominent churches located in Rome and Vatican City. What sets Pueri Cantores apart is the quality of the music, the great conducting and the beauty of the churches where choirs sing.”
The International Federation of Pueri Cantores, founded in 1944 in France, was officially endorsed by the Holy See in 1965.