Pope sings praises of city choir at Rome Mass

Eimear Rabbitte

A Dublin boys' choir has been paid the ultimate compliment after Pope Benedict sang their praises at a special Mass in the Vatican.

Dublin's famous Palestrina Choir, based at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, sang at St Peter's Basilica with the Pope's personal choir, the Sistine Chapel Choir, yesterday.

The event, held in front of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims at St Peter's Basilica Square in Rome, was organised mark the Feast of the Epiphany.

This is the second time the Dublin choir, comprising 32 boy choristers and 12 men, has sung in the presence of the Pope.

If that achievement wasn't enough, the choir which features boys between the ages of eight and 13, was singled out for individual praise by the Pope.

The Pope gave a special welcome to the 100-year-old Dublin choir, prompting a massive cheer from the crowds in the square.

The talented choir is the only one of its kind in the country and one of the best known Catholic choirs in Ireland.

It also sang some of its own Irish liturgical music at the prestigious event.

Administrator of the Pro Cathedral parish, Fr Damian O'Reilly, spoke of the group's excitement to be at such a prestigious celebration.

He said: "This is the first time for this group to come to Rome. They have never sung at a celebration of this magnitude before."


The Dublin Palestrina Choir is well knownthroughout the world. It has been training boys from all over the city in liturgical music for more than 100 years.

Last December, it played Handel's Messiah to mark the 80th anniversary of the foundation of Vatican City State, following a successful performance at the celebration in 2009.