HE HEREFORD CATHEDRAL CHOIR has been invited to sing for a Papal Mass with the Choir of Sistine Chapel. According to the BBC News, the two choirs will sing together on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Both Geraint Bowen, the cathedral’s director of music, and Msgr. Massimo Palombella will direct the joint choir during the Mass.
The Hereford Cathedral Choir will be the first Anglican cathedral choir to sing in a Papal Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica since the Reformation. In the past, the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Church have had similar “music exchange programs”. In 2010, the Choir of Westminster Abbey sang a Choral Evensong for Pope Benedict during his visit to the UK. In 2012, the Abbey Choir visited the Vatican and sang at the Papal Mass on the Solemnity of Ss. Peter & Paul. More recently in 2016, a Solemn Vespers sung by The Sixteen was held in the Chapel Royal; that was the first Catholic liturgy held in that chapel since the time of Henry VIII.
Here is a video clip from the 2012 Papal Mass with the joint choir of Westminster Abbey and Sistine Chapel:
Hopefully, this Papal Mass will contribute to the healing process between the two Churches. And as the two Churches grow closer in unity, we may experience a mutual enrichment in our liturgical music. Music and arts are powerful instruments of prayer and evangelization! People may not remember the readings of the Mass and the sermon, but they will remember the beautiful music they heard at Mass!
* We thank Mr. Leung for his articles, which are always of interest. However, it would be important to add that events such as this do involve a certain amount of risk. We must be careful never to belittle or “gloss over” the differences between Catholic truths and positions at variance with the Catholic teaching. We certainly pray this is not the case here and (again) thank Mr. Leung for bringing this everyone’s attention.