BY HELEN RIDDELL
A GROUP from the Beara Peninsula will be part of a choir singing for Pope Francis in the Phoenix Park this Sunday.
Comprising 26 people, they are all members of local choirs throughout the peninsulas including Cahermore, Adrigole, Castletownbere and Bere Island.
They will join up with a choir from Killarney to sing at the final mass in the World Meeting of Families 2018.
Choir leader Mary O’Connor from Castletownbere said some of the group are making their own arrangements to travel to Dublin, but the majority will travel on a local bus, which will see them leave Beara at 2am that morning.
Choir member Brenda Elphick, who lives on Bere Island, explained: ‘We need to be in Dublin for 10am, and then the Mass is at 3pm. It will be an early start leaving from Beara, I’ll travel out from the island the evening before and will stay with family on the mainland. It’s a huge privilege to be going and we’re all really looking forward to it.’
Mary, who leads the Castletownbere choir, which has been in existence for over 50 years, says they were delighted to come together to join in the Official Liturgy Choir for the World Meeting of Families. Mary herself was at the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park in 1979 with Pope John Paul II.
‘That was a really memorable day, I had a very young family at the time and we all travelled, including a one year old! I have special memories from that day, and now I will have more memoires from this event with Pope Francis.’
The Beara group ranges in age from the 20s to the mid-80s, says Mary: ‘Some of our group have been practising for the long walk we will have when we get to Dublin to the site of the Mass in the Phoenix Park. There is great spirit among us and we are all looking forward to it now.’