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Pope to young choir members: Talk to the Lord in prayer

Pope Francis holds a lively encounter with participants in the IV International Meeting of Choirs and draws their attention to three essential aspects of their service: harmony, communion, and joy.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

“Maintain the lofty spiritual tenor of your vocation through prayer and meditation on the word of God, participating in the liturgies you animate not only with your voices but also with your minds and hearts,” Pope Francis told young choir members on Saturday morning at the Vatican during a lively encounter with participants in the IV International Meeting of Choirs.

The initiative took place on the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Choir of the Diocese of Rome and brought together parish and diocesan choirs, scholæ cantorum, chapel choirs, directors, and musicians. 

Pope Francis began by applauding the spontaneity and innocence of children, reminding them how the Lord always told them to come to Him.

Pope Francis greets choristers at an audience in the Paul VI Hall

Pope Francis greets choristers at an audience in the Paul VI Hall

The Holy Father acknowledged that their choral gathering in the Vatican was intended to explore more deeply the significance of music in service to the liturgy; and that they traveled from different places, but are all “united by faith and a passion for music.” “You are an eloquent sign of unity,” he said. 

With this in mind, the Holy Father highlighted “three essential aspects” of their service: harmony, communion, and joy.

Turning to harmony, he acknowledged that music creates harmony, “thereby reaching everyone, consoling those who suffer, rekindling enthusiasm in the downhearted.” Music likewise “brings forth wonderful values such as beauty and poetry, which reflect God’s harmonious light.”  

Moving on to communion, he stressed that choral singing is done together, not alone. 

Pope Francis greets choristers in the Vatican

Pope Francis greets choristers in the Vatican

“This also speaks to us about the Church and the world in which we live,” he observed, noting, “Our journey together can be likened to the performance of a great ‘concert’, where each person offers their contribution according to their abilities, playing or singing their ‘part,'” and thereby “discovering their unique richness within the symphony of communion.” 

He added that this mirrors the life of the Church and our own lives, “where we are all called to fulfil our role for the benefit of the entire community, so that a song of praise to God may rise from all over the world.”

Pope Francis greets choristers in an audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall

Pope Francis greets choristers in an audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall

Finally, he turned to joy.

Telling them they are “custodians of a centuries-old treasure of art, beauty, and spirituality,” he cautioned them against letting “the mentality of the world taint it with self-interest, ambition, jealousy, or division, for such things, as you well know, infiltrate the life of choirs as well as communities, making them places that are no longer joyful but sad and burdensome, even leading to their disintegration.”

“To this end,” he suggested, “it will be good for you to maintain the lofty spiritual tenor of your vocation through prayer and meditation on the Word of God, participating in the liturgies you animate not only with your voices but also with your minds and hearts.”

Pope Francis concluded by thanking them for their service to the Church’s prayer and evangelization.

Pope Francis greets choristers in an audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall

Pope Francis greets choristers in an audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall

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