By Zoey Di Mauro
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON –- Last week, among those gathered in the nation’s capital to celebrate Independence Day were Catholic choirs from all around the world.
The Vatican’s official group of children singers, Pueri Cantores, met in Washington for their 38th International Congress. Choirs traveled from as far away as Poland and India to sing at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and other Catholics churches for the July 3-7 festival.
It began in the afternoon of July 3 with the opening ceremony and procession of the flags at the national shrine.
“It’s gonna be thrilling,” Lee Gwozdz, one of the conductors, told Catholic News Service before the festivities officially began. “It’s like the Olympics but without all the special effects.” Wearing brightly colored shirts announcing their nationalities, each choir grouped together in the pews and sang as representatives carried their homeland’s flag into the sanctuary.
In addition, the Pueri Cantores choirs sang for the Independence Day Parade on the Fourth and the next morning day at the Jefferson Memorial the next morning for their Prayer for Peace ceremony and at St. Patrick’s Church later that day.
“Our motto is ‘May the children may join together and sing the peace of God,’” said Pat Flahive, from Covina, Calif, who is president of the federation’s American branch. “We always include the prayer of peace — songs and a reflection on Christ’s call for peace.