Westminster, Sistine Choirs to Join for Performance

Hailed as ‘Momentous Ecumenical Occasion’

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 7, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Choir of Westminster Abbey in London, England, is due to sing alongside the “Cappella Musicale Pontificia”, or Sistine Choir, this June in an event which will be broadcast across the world. The Westminster Choir has been invited to the Holy See through Monsignor Massimo Palombella, director of the Sistine Choir.

A joint communique made public today notes that “this momentous ecumenical occasion is the first time in its over-500 year history that the Sistine Chapel Choir has joined forces with another choir. The invitation to Rome came after Benedict XVI visited the Abbey in September 2010 when he attended Evening Prayer and prayed at the tomb of St. Edward the Confessor with Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, as part of his State visit to England and Scotland.”

Speaking about the forthcoming visit, the primate of the Anglican Church has highlighted how St. Peter is patron of both the Vatican Basilica and of Westminster Abbey, therefore “celebrating together his apostolic witness and example is a powerful reminder of the call that our Churches share to be faithful to the apostolic fullness of the Gospel today.”

The two choirs will together sing at First Vespers in the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls on 28 June, and at Mass in the Vatican Basilica on the morning of 29 June. The Westminster Abbey Choir will also travel to the Benedictine monastery at Montecassino to sing Vespers and Mass with the monastic community at the burial place of St Benedict. It was Benedictine monks who established a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day in Westminster Abbey, founded in the year 960.

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